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Justice for Aaron

Demand Progress's Aaron Swartz tragically killed himself in 2013, while subject to a vicious persecution by U.S. law enforcement. Help us achieve justice for Aaron by urging the firing of his prosecutors and reform of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. More »

 

Help make sure it never happens again: Fix the law they used to persecute Aaron and demand a Congressional inquiry into his abusive prosecution.
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Demand justice for Aaron: Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

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Add your name at right to support "Aaron's Law" and further amendments to the statute under which he was and indicted -- and to also support a Congressional inquiry into his abusive prosecution.

 

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LETTER ISSUED BY DEMAND PROGRESS AND HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR LAWRENCE LESSIG:

 

We spent Tuesday burying and mourning our friend Aaron. We're sad, we're tired, we're frustrated -- and we're angry at a system that let this happen to Aaron.  Now we want to set upon honoring his life's work and helping to make sure that such a travesty is never repeated.

We and Aaron's friends and family have been in touch with lawmakers to ask for help, and several of them -- who've worked with Aaron and Demand Progress on SOPA and other issues -- are beginning to take action.  We're asking them to help rein in a criminal justice system run amok. Authorities are encouraged to bring frivolous charges and hold decades of jail time over the heads of people who are accused of committing victimless crimes.

1) Representative Zoe Lofgren has introduced what's been named  "Aaron's Law."  It would fix a key part of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which is one of the statutes under which Aaron was indicted.  We need to pass Aaron's Law AND further amend the CFAA.

The CFAA makes violations of a website's terms of service agreement or user agreement -- that fine print you never read before you check the box next to it -- a FELONY, potentially punishable by many years in prison.  That's how over-broad this dangerous statute is, and one way it lets showboating prosecutors file charges against people who've done nothing wrong.

Aaron's Law would decriminalize violating these agreements: They're essentially contracts, and as with other contracts, disputes about them should be settled in civil courts rather than in out of control criminal trials under threat of decades of prison time. As currently written, Aaron's Law alone wouldn't have saved Aaron -- there is still more to do to make sure that victimless computer activities are not charged as felonies -- but this is a solid start that we can pass now and it's a law he wanted to change.  Then we'll keep pushing forward.

2) Additionally, we asked Congressman Darrell Issa -- who controls the powerful Oversight Committee -- to open an investigation into prosecutorial misconduct in Aaron's caseAmazingly, he's already responded and is dispatching a staffer to investigate the U.S. Attorney who was pressing charges against Aaron. 

We want the inquiry to proceed, and to be broadened to include a more thorough investigation into rampant over-prosecution of alleged crimes with no victims -- as in the case of what Aaron was accused of.  And we want those who abused their power to be held to account.

We loved Aaron -- so many people loved Aaron -- and his death is tragic.  We and others who were close to him are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, and the calls for justice.  Thank you for joining us in that fight.

Add your name at right to join us in demanding justice for Aaron.

Here's Slate on the CFAA.

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AARON SWARTZ

 

Aaron Swartz is the founder of Demand Progress, which launched the campaign against the Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA) and now has over a million members. He is also a Contributing Editor to <cite>The Baffler</cite> and on the Council of Advisors to The Rules.

 

He is a frequent television commentator and the author of numerous articles on a variety of topics, especially the corrupting influence of big money on institutions including nonprofitsthe mediapolitics, and public opinion. From 2010-11, he researched these topics as a Fellow at the Harvard Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption. He also served on the board of Change Congress, a good government nonprofit.

 

He has also developed the site theinfo.org. His landmark analysis of Wikipedia, Who Writes Wikipedia?, has been widely cited. Working with Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee at MIT, he helped develop and popularize standards for sharing data on the Web. He also coauthored the RSS 1.0 specification, now widely used for publishing news stories.

 

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His piece with photographer Taryn Simon, <cite>Image Atlas</cite>(2012), is has been featured in the New Museum. In 2007, he led the development of the nonprofit Open Library, an ambitious project to collect information about every book ever published. He also cofounded the online news site Reddit, where he released as free software the web framework he developed, web.py.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

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