The beginning of 2013 was marked with the unfortunate suicide of Aaron Swartz, an action said to be the result of legal pressure from MIT and the Department of Justice following his hacking of the JSTOR academic journal system. In March, it was promised that MIT would release documents related to the case. It has been six months, and now the Secret Service has released the first 104 of a massive 14,500 pages.
The documents detail information both known and suspected, such as the date and location of his untimely demise, as well as the date and time of his pending trial, which would have taken place in April of this year in Massachusetts. As was anticipate from the start, the documents that were released are heavily redacted.
There is also discussion of a search the Secret Service performed on Swartz’ house in early 2011 following an arrest-and-release that took place by local law enforcement. Kevin Poulsen, who worked with Swartz, attempted to get information from the Secret Service, eventually leading to a Freedom of Information lawsuit against the Department of Justice.
After a bit of a legal hoopla, a US district judge ordered the DoJ to release files on Swartz on a rolling basis, something that is being muddled up presently by both MIT and JSTOR’ requests to review the documents before they’re made public. The 104 pages that have been released have already been reviewed, and it is said it will take half a year for the remaining documents to be reviewed and made available.
Within this first batch of papers is confirmation that the Secret Service had particular interest in the “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” that was written by Swartz and others back in 2008. Such information was first revealed in the early months of this year by anonymous sources who spoke to the media, saying it would be used against him as part of the trial.