Cofounder of David Segal’s PAC indicted for big downloads

Aaron Swartz

Since his unsuccessful congressional bid last year, former state Rep. David Segal has been keeping busy running Demand Progress, a new federal political action committee and 527 group he cofounded last year that advocates for civil liberties, net neutrality and related issues.

But now Demand Progress is making news rather than responding to it.

Segal’s Demand Progress cofounder, Harvard student Aaron Swartz, has been indicted for allegedly hacking into the academic database JSTOR and downloading more than 4 million articles. The indictment was unsealed in Boston on Tuesday.

The New York Times has details:

Mr. Swartz, 24, made his name as a member of the Internet elite as a teenager when he helped create RSS, a bit of computer code that allows people to receive automatic feeds of online notices and news. Since then, he has emerged as a civil liberties activist who crusades for open access to data. …

He faces up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines for charges related to wire fraud, computer fraud and unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer. He surrendered to the authorities on Tuesday morning, was arraigned in Federal District Court and pleaded not guilty to all counts. He was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.

Segal – who told me in May he is considering a rematch against Congressman David Cicilline – issued a statement saying the case “makes no sense.” He also told The Times Swartz is “a person who cares deeply about matters of ethics and government” but added, “I don’t know about the matter of what has been alleged.”

(photo: Wikipedia)

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