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(Yahoo)   Maybe it's time to take a new look at the 29-year-old U.S. computer security laws   (finance.yahoo.com) divider line 37
    More: Obvious, Internet activists, computer security, United States, internet, George Washington University Law School, Santa Clara University, Cory Doctorow, computer fraud  
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2932 clicks; posted to Geek » on 16 Jan 2013 at 8:19 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-16 07:44:47 AM  
Congress could add a clause clarifying that popular people and those who think their cause is just still have to obey the law.
 
2013-01-16 08:23:50 AM  
Done in one
 
2013-01-16 08:29:01 AM  
We only have 29 recent laws on computer security?
 
2013-01-16 08:31:43 AM  

ZAZ: Congress could add a clause clarifying that popular people and those who think their cause is just still have to obey the law.


Farkin Criminals!
 
2013-01-16 08:59:03 AM  
DON'T COPY THAT FLOPPY!

4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-01-16 09:03:05 AM  

ZAZ: Congress could add a clause clarifying that popular people and those who think their cause is just still have to obey the law.


even MIT didn't feel prosecution was warranted... and they were the "victim".
 
2013-01-16 09:21:29 AM  

HindiDiscoMonster: Congress could add a clause clarifying that popular people and those who think their cause is just still have to obey the law.

even MIT didn't feel prosecution was warranted... and they were the "victim".


I kept asking people in yesterday's thread to specify which action that Swartz took that was illegal, and which law it broke. Zero people were able to do it, but that didn't stop them from dumbly repeating, "But he broke the law!" over and over and over again.
 
2013-01-16 09:29:28 AM  

China White Tea: HindiDiscoMonster: Congress could add a clause clarifying that popular people and those who think their cause is just still have to obey the law.

even MIT didn't feel prosecution was warranted... and they were the "victim".

I kept asking people in yesterday's thread to specify which action that Swartz took that was illegal, and which law it broke. Zero people were able to do it, but that didn't stop them from dumbly repeating, "But he broke the law!" over and over and over again.


Copyright violations and wire fraud.
 
2013-01-16 09:37:22 AM  
Copyright violations and wire fraud.

Wrong on both counts, and you didn't identify the action he took. First of all, he only downloaded the data, so copyright doesn't even come into play here. Somewhere down the road he may have distributed it, at which point you could begin to think about copyright - but it's not applicable here, unless we're suddenly fond of the idea of precrime.

What he *literally* did was enter a public library (legal), access the library's intentional open network (also legal), and use it to access content that was intentionally made available to users of that network (still legal).

I can do that right now. I can walk into MIT's library with my laptop, jack into their network, and download articles from JSTOR and it's perfectly legal. He just did it faster than I could do it manually. The pace he did it at violated JTOR's terms of service, but since when have website terms of service been under the jurisdiction of our criminal justice apparatus? The only case that I know of where it has come up was the Lori Drew case, and it was tossed on appeal precisely because enforcing website terms of service is not a job for our government. If it were, it would mean that...

-Signing up for Facebook with an alias would be a criminal offense.
-Posting contact information on Fark would be a criminal offense.
-Cheating in online games would be a criminal offense.

To believe he did something illegal here requires you to also believe that a series of legal actions, performed at a frequency that is arbitrarily deemed to be too high
, magically becomes illegal.
 
2013-01-16 09:38:02 AM  
He probably did totally commit trespassing when he used the server closet, though. Funny how those charges weren't pursued.
 
2013-01-16 09:59:58 AM  

China White Tea: HindiDiscoMonster: Congress could add a clause clarifying that popular people and those who think their cause is just still have to obey the law.

even MIT didn't feel prosecution was warranted... and they were the "victim".

I kept asking people in yesterday's thread to specify which action that Swartz took that was illegal, and which law it broke. Zero people were able to do it, but that didn't stop them from dumbly repeating, "But he broke the law!" over and over and over again.


In order to bypass some of JTOR's security mechanisms, Swartz had to alter his network identity (I believe he was spoofing his IP address in order to create the number of parallel connections he needed); this can potentially be a criminal act under the poorly-written and decades-out-of-date Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984, depending on the value of what is being accessed.
 
2013-01-16 10:06:13 AM  
As I have said before, I'm waiting for someone to be prosecuted for using a fake name.
 
2013-01-16 11:54:03 AM  

qorkfiend: In order to bypass some of JTOR's security mechanisms, Swartz had to alter his network identity (I believe he was spoofing his IP address in order to create the number of parallel connections he needed); this can potentially be a criminal act under the poorly-written and decades-out-of-date Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984, depending on the value of what is being accessed.


It was his MAC, and it had nothing to do with bypassing any aspect of JSTOR's security.
 
2013-01-16 12:03:10 PM  

China White Tea: qorkfiend: In order to bypass some of JTOR's security mechanisms, Swartz had to alter his network identity (I believe he was spoofing his IP address in order to create the number of parallel connections he needed); this can potentially be a criminal act under the poorly-written and decades-out-of-date Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984, depending on the value of what is being accessed.

It was his MAC, and it had nothing to do with bypassing any aspect of JSTOR's security.


Sure it does, if they limit the number of simultaneous connections from a machine and Swartz had to get around that.

You wanted to know what law Swartz was supposed to have broken, and it's the 1984 CFAA. Sorting out whether or not he actually broke that law is what the trial is for.
 
2013-01-16 12:14:55 PM  
*shrug* Capone was nailed on tax evasion.
 
2013-01-16 12:21:01 PM  

ZAZ: Congress could add a clause clarifying that popular people and those who think their cause is just still have to obey the law.


Since its clear you missed the point of the outrage. He had a valid MIT account and therefor had valid access to the service granted to MIT users. What he did is at most breaking the TOS. You can argue a trespassing charge but that's state level that results in a slap on the wrist. Breaking a TOS is a civil matter and usually only results in loosing access to the service

The issue is that none of what he did is actual hacking in terms of what the law was designed to go after.

The issue so that you guys can understand why people are outraged is that they took a law meant for more harmful crimes and applied it to a situation it was never meant to apply to. This shiat has got to stop in this country. 50 years for what he did is inexcusable

The issue is that this is politically motivated. This guy lead the fight against SOPA and pissed off a lot of wealthy and powerful people who used thier back room connections to punish him. He was never treated like anyone else would be treated. This was a which hunt led and funded by the music and movie industry in thier war on the Internet

So maybee you guys can open your brains and use some critical thinking skills to realize what the issue really is here
 
2013-01-16 12:32:52 PM  
I can't stop thinking about how the federal govt has the wrong priorities. The real criminals wear suits and work at banks. There must be laws against what they did. This is just about people not obeying laws that were made only to get votes.
 
2013-01-16 12:48:24 PM  

qorkfiend: Sure it does, if they limit the number of simultaneous connections from a machine and Swartz had to get around that.


Yeah, that's not what happened, and what you're describing would not work, either. Changing your L2 address would not increase the number of concurrent connections you could make to a single site because doing so would interrupt your existing connections. You would not magically have multiple addresses you could communicate on - you would simply interrupt any (and ALL) communications you were making until the ARP table of the switch you were connected to caught up with what happened and fixed it, and then you would be back to communicating with a single, but now different, address. This would have zero effect on your ability to make concurrent connections.

If you wanted to bypass a concurrent connection limit in such a fashion, you would need multiple NICs, which would each have their own MAC and own IP (not because OMG HACKERZ but because that's how they necessarily work).

Furthermore (yes, there's more!) even multiple NICs would only help in the HIGHLY UNLIKELY case that the MIT network passes out public IP addresses to users. If it's a private IP (very likely) JSTOR would never see it - they would just see the public IP of the router he was connecting through.

You wanted to know what law Swartz was supposed to have broken, and it's the 1984 CFAA.
I did not ask which law he was alleged to have broken, I asked which specific action broke which law. What I mean by that is as follows:

Say my public library has a JSTOR account (this is possible, even likely).

I go to my public library with my laptop. Have I broken the law yet? Which?
I connect my laptop to the public wifi in the library. Have I broken the law yet? Which?
I navigate to Jstor over the connection provided to me by my public library. Have I broken the law yet? Which?
I download documents from Jstor. Have I broken the law yet? Which?
I write a python script to download a LOT of documents from Jstor. Have I broken the law yet? Which?

Sorting out whether or not he actually broke that law is what the trial is for.

I actually agree with this, but for some reason it's a position that doesn't apply to anyone asserting he broke the law.
 
2013-01-16 01:45:41 PM  

China White Tea: What he *literally* did was enter a public library (legal), access the library's intentional open network (also legal), and use it to access content that was intentionally made available to users of that network (still legal).

I can do that right now. I can walk into MIT's library with my laptop, jack into their network, and download articles from JSTOR and it's perfectly legal. He just did it faster than I could do it manually. The pace he did it at violated JTOR's terms of service, but since when have website terms of service been under the jurisdiction of our criminal justice apparatus?


Ever since a law was passed to criminalize using a computer system in an unauthorized manner.  JSTOR's TOS explicitly forbade the use of software to automate downloading. No matter how open MIT's network is, I will bet the rent that it comes with an acceptable use policy and one of its terms is, "You may not use the network for any illegal purpose."

The wishes of JSTOR and MIT are irrelevant.  Prosecutors don't need victims' permission to prosecute violations of laws.  Their job is to enforce laws, not victims' wishes.

If Swarz was such a genius, he could have figured out that his cunning plan was illegal and what the consequences might be.  But like many geniuses, he suffered the delusions of believing that everyone who disagreed with him was wrong and that being right is better than being happy.

If Swarz was such a genius, he knew he suffered from depression and that doing illegal things just might make his depression worse.  He brought his troubles upon himself, then took the easiest way out.
 
2013-01-16 02:03:40 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: Ever since a law was passed to criminalize using a computer system in an unauthorized manner.


In his opinion, Wu examined each element of the misdemeanor offense, noting that a misdemeanor conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(C) requires that (1) the defendant intentionally have accessed a computer without authorization, or have exceeded authorized access of a computer; (2) the access of the computer involved an interstate or foreign communication; and (3) by engaging in this conduct, the defendant obtained information from a computer used in interstate or foreign commerce or communication.

Wu found that many courts have held that any computer that provides a web-based application accessible through the internet would satisfy the interstate communication requirement of the second element, and that the third element is met whenever a person using a computer contacts an internet website and reads any part of that website.

The only issue arose with respect to the first element, and the meaning of the undefined term "unauthorized access." Wu noted the government's concession that its only basis for claiming that Drew had intentionally accessed MySpace's computers without authorization was the creation of the false "Josh Evans" alias in violation of the MySpace Terms of Service. Wu reasoned that, if a conscious violation of the Terms of Service was not sufficient to satisfy the first element, Drew's motion for acquittal would have to be granted for that reason alone. Wu found that an intentional breach of the MySpace Terms of Service could possibly satisfy the definition of an unauthorized access or access exceeding authorization, but that rooting a CFAA misdemeanor violation in an individual's conscious violation of a website's Terms of Service would render the statute void for vagueness because there were insufficient guidelines to govern law enforcement as well as a lack of actual notice to the public.
 
2013-01-16 02:05:56 PM  
In summary, what you just said has already been found to be bullshiat by a federal judge in United States V. Lori Drew.

I'm not sure what effect that has with respect to precedent, but it certainly supports the notion that the prosecutor here wasn't really acting to uphold the law in good faith.
 
2013-01-16 02:06:53 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: China White Tea: What he *literally* did was enter a public library (legal), access the library's intentional open network (also legal), and use it to access content that was intentionally made available to users of that network (still legal).

I can do that right now. I can walk into MIT's library with my laptop, jack into their network, and download articles from JSTOR and it's perfectly legal. He just did it faster than I could do it manually. The pace he did it at violated JTOR's terms of service, but since when have website terms of service been under the jurisdiction of our criminal justice apparatus?

Ever since a law was passed to criminalize using a computer system in an unauthorized manner.  JSTOR's TOS explicitly forbade the use of software to automate downloading. No matter how open MIT's network is, I will bet the rent that it comes with an acceptable use policy and one of its terms is, "You may not use the network for any illegal purpose."

The wishes of JSTOR and MIT are irrelevant.  Prosecutors don't need victims' permission to prosecute violations of laws.  Their job is to enforce laws, not victims' wishes.

If Swarz was such a genius, he could have figured out that his cunning plan was illegal and what the consequences might be.  But like many geniuses, he suffered the delusions of believing that everyone who disagreed with him was wrong and that being right is better than being happy.

If Swarz was such a genius, he knew he suffered from depression and that doing illegal things just might make his depression worse.  He brought his troubles upon himself, then took the easiest way out.


The job of a Prosecutor is to seek justice not convictions at any cost. Justice would have been using appropriate charges or offering a plea bargain with punishment appropriate for his offense

Then there is the fact that this guy was not given equal treatment as anybody else would be. When somebody got into my friends facebook account the police flat out refused to investigate because it wouldn't be worth thier time. Yet an even more harmless act is getting some body 50 years

His only crime was pissing off the RIAA and MPAA who called in thier friends in the DOJ to punish him. THAT is why people are upset.
 
2013-01-16 04:02:06 PM  

Warlordtrooper: The job of a Prosecutor is to seek justice not convictions at any cost. Justice would have been using appropriate charges or offering a plea bargain with punishment appropriate for his offense


Prosecutors did offer a deal:  plead guilty and serve six months or less.  His lawyer, Elliott Peters, turned that deal down and chose to go to trial.  Blame him for Swartz's suicide.

Or just blame the guy who killed Swartz.  That's justice.
 
2013-01-16 04:13:36 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: Warlordtrooper: The job of a Prosecutor is to seek justice not convictions at any cost. Justice would have been using appropriate charges or offering a plea bargain with punishment appropriate for his offense

Prosecutors did offer a deal:  plead guilty and serve six months or less.  His lawyer, Elliott Peters, turned that deal down and chose to go to trial.  Blame him for Swartz's suicide.

Or just blame the guy who killed Swartz.  That's justice.


So what, in your estimation, would be an appropriate prison sentence for people who violate Facebook's terms of service by signing up with an alias?

While I realize there's a subset of people who subscribe to authoritarianism to such a degree that whether or not any law was broken isn't actually important, and while I recognize that you're almost certainly a member of that subset of people, how, exactly, do you reconcile your assertion that violating a website's terms of service = a violation of the CFAA when a federal appeals judge as found otherwise?

And, just out of curiosity, do you understand that in such an event that violating a website's terms of service DID constitute a criminal action, it would mean that any service in the country could, by extention, arbitrarily define what constitutes criminal behavior in America?
 
2013-01-16 04:37:16 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: If Swarz was such a genius, he could have figured out that his cunning plan was illegal and what the consequences might be.  But like many geniuses, he suffered the delusions of believing that everyone who disagreed with him was wrong and that being right is better than being happy.

If Swarz was such a genius, he knew he suffered from depression and that doing illegal things just might make his depression worse.  He brought his troubles upon himself, then took the easiest way out.


This is, simultaneously, the essence of American anti-intellectualism (dur hur smart people sure don't have no sense) and a gross misunderstanding of clinical depression -- being "smart" does not give you the ability to suddenly know you're suffering from its effects. Depression is extremely difficult to self-diagnose and in many cases the symptoms render the victim less likely to make the correct diagnosis, which is why social support is a critical factor.

Not that I expect you to care. That's the stuff those "smart people" came up with. If they were so smart they'd just fix it, right?
 
2013-01-16 04:58:00 PM  

China White Tea: BarkingUnicorn: Warlordtrooper: The job of a Prosecutor is to seek justice not convictions at any cost. Justice would have been using appropriate charges or offering a plea bargain with punishment appropriate for his offense

Prosecutors did offer a deal:  plead guilty and serve six months or less.  His lawyer, Elliott Peters, turned that deal down and chose to go to trial.  Blame him for Swartz's suicide.

Or just blame the guy who killed Swartz.  That's justice.

So what, in your estimation, would be an appropriate prison sentence for people who violate Facebook's terms of service by signing up with an alias?

While I realize there's a subset of people who subscribe to authoritarianism to such a degree that whether or not any law was broken isn't actually important, and while I recognize that you're almost certainly a member of that subset of people, how, exactly, do you reconcile your assertion that violating a website's terms of service = a violation of the CFAA when a federal appeals judge as found otherwise?

And, just out of curiosity, do you understand that in such an event that violating a website's terms of service DID constitute a criminal action, it would mean that any service in the country could, by extention, arbitrarily define what constitutes criminal behavior in America?


Wu is not an appeals court judge.  Did you have some other case in mind?

I'd say first-time Facebook fakers should get six months suspended and lifetime probation.  It isn't that hard to remember not to create alias accounts.

Yes, I do.  If your genius did, he might still be alive.
 
2013-01-16 05:08:53 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: Wu is not an appeals court judge.  Did you have some other case in mind?


My mistake, I read it as being vacated on appeal. Regardless, we're still left with the opinion of a federal judge Vs. that of a mid-rate troll.

I'll stick with the Hon. Wu.
 
2013-01-16 05:27:33 PM  

China White Tea: BarkingUnicorn: Wu is not an appeals court judge.  Did you have some other case in mind?

My mistake, I read it as being vacated on appeal. Regardless, we're still left with the opinion of a federal judge Vs. that of a mid-rate troll.

I'll stick with the Hon. Wu.


Unless he disagreed with you.
 
2013-01-16 05:36:41 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: Unless he disagreed with you.


He didn't, though. Although, I suppose that, more accurately, I'm agreeing with him.
 
2013-01-16 08:48:12 PM  

BarkingUnicorn:

I'd say first-time Facebook fakers should get six months suspended and lifetime probation.  It isn't that hard to remember not to create alias accounts.

Yes, I do.  If your genius did, he might still be alive.


And with those two lines I have decided that you are either a complete moron or a troll. Either way welcome to a lot of peoples blocklists.
 
2013-01-16 09:10:59 PM  

Warlordtrooper: ZAZ: Congress could add a clause clarifying that popular people and those who think their cause is just still have to obey the law.

Since its clear you missed the point of the outrage. He had a valid MIT account and therefor had valid access to the service granted to MIT users. What he did is at most breaking the TOS. You can argue a trespassing charge but that's state level that results in a slap on the wrist. Breaking a TOS is a civil matter and usually only results in loosing access to the service

The issue is that none of what he did is actual hacking in terms of what the law was designed to go after.

The issue so that you guys can understand why people are outraged is that they took a law meant for more harmful crimes and applied it to a situation it was never meant to apply to. This shiat has got to stop in this country. 50 years for what he did is inexcusable

The issue is that this is politically motivated. This guy lead the fight against SOPA and pissed off a lot of wealthy and powerful people who used thier back room connections to punish him. He was never treated like anyone else would be treated. This was a which hunt led and funded by the music and movie industry in thier war on the Internet

So maybee you guys can open your brains and use some critical thinking skills to realize what the issue really is here


$75,000 can move a State case to Federal jusisdiction.
 
2013-01-16 10:22:57 PM  

Hacker_X: BarkingUnicorn:

I'd say first-time Facebook fakers should get six months suspended and lifetime probation.  It isn't that hard to remember not to create alias accounts.

Yes, I do.  If your genius did, he might still be alive.

And with those two lines I have decided that you are either a complete moron or a troll. Either way welcome to a lot of peoples blocklists.


I genuinely hope he's trolling. The idea that some people could be such enthusiastic slaves is terrifying.

/I just favorited BarkingUnicorn as "Enthusiastic Slave" just in case he's serious
//I was in a slightly worse mood when I favorited ZAZ. He got "Nazi arse tastes good"
 
2013-01-16 10:39:41 PM  

China White Tea: qorkfiend: In order to bypass some of JTOR's security mechanisms, Swartz had to alter his network identity (I believe he was spoofing his IP address in order to create the number of parallel connections he needed); this can potentially be a criminal act under the poorly-written and decades-out-of-date Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984, depending on the value of what is being accessed.

It was his MAC, and it had nothing to do with bypassing any aspect of JSTOR's security.


Network n00b here, but I was under the impression that MAC addresses were hardwired to the network card and were extremely difficult, if not impossible, to spoof.
 
2013-01-16 10:57:35 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: Wu is not an appeals court judge.


A case doesn't have to go to appeals to be used as precedent. It usually DOES go to appeals, but there are many arguments made during pre-trial and appeals level that involve indirectly related (used here to mean "does not involve the same defendants and/or acts") trial court decisions. Granted, they aren't given as much weight, but they are still there for the judge to consider.

Also, just because the judge cited isn't an appeals judge, that doesn't mean an appeals judge will not use his reasoning, and for that reason, deny the appellant's motion. Many cases end that way, actually. Just read a reporter of your local appeals court (I mean the intermediate court. The one where I am is, for some reason, called the "Court of Special Appeals", while the state's high court is called the "Court of Appeals". You'd think it'd be the other way around, but apparently we had an idiot come up with our names... or the intermediate court wasn't there before, I'd have to recheck my state's history.)

/IANAL
//I'm getting tired of typing that...

ParanoidAgnostic: ZAZ...got "Nazi arse tastes good"


Wow. Just...wow. I am afraid to ask this, but how the bloody hell did he earn THAT farkie?
 
2013-01-16 11:34:24 PM  
friday13:
ParanoidAgnostic: ZAZ...got "Nazi arse tastes good"

Wow. Just...wow. I am afraid to ask this, but how the bloody hell did he earn THAT farkie?

Just his post at the top of this thread:

"Congress could add a clause clarifying that popular people and those who think their cause is just still have to obey the law."

Aaron Swartz downloaded files he was legally allowed to download through network he was legally allowed to access. He probably did have the intention to illegally distribute those files as a form of protest or service to the community but he had not yet done that.

Either way, even if we accept that breaching a licence agreement (whether it be downloading more than some arbitrary number of documents in a day or passing them on to others) can be a criminal matter in the first place. The decades of prison time he was being threatened with via the abuse of vague legislation was completely disproportionate.

However what ZAZ takes from the story is that Aaron Swarts was an entitle prick who believed he was above the law.
 
2013-01-17 12:14:45 AM  

friday13: China White Tea: qorkfiend: In order to bypass some of JTOR's security mechanisms, Swartz had to alter his network identity (I believe he was spoofing his IP address in order to create the number of parallel connections he needed); this can potentially be a criminal act under the poorly-written and decades-out-of-date Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984, depending on the value of what is being accessed.

It was his MAC, and it had nothing to do with bypassing any aspect of JSTOR's security.

Network n00b here, but I was under the impression that MAC addresses were hardwired to the network card and were extremely difficult, if not impossible, to spoof.


Once upon a time it was difficult to impossible. That is no longer the case. It started with NICs that had socketed EPROMs that you could dump, use a hex editor to change the MAC address, and then reflash. These days tons of routers have MAC cloning as a built in option and at least some NICs will let you change the MAC while the system is up and running.
 
2013-01-17 05:19:55 AM  

ParanoidAgnostic: Aaron Swartz downloaded files he was legally allowed to download through network he was legally allowed to access.


Bullshiat.  The facts of what Swartz did are detailed here by Orin Kerr, who writes,

"As regular readers know, I have been fighting overly broad readings of "unauthorized access" for well over a decade as a scholar, defense attorney, and op-ed writer. But I think it's pretty clear that Swartz exceeded his authorized access here...

"My conclusion, at least based on what we know so far, is that the legal charges against Swartz were pretty much legit. Three of them are pretty strong; one is plausible but we would need to know more facts to be sure. Of course, there may have been reasons not to charge Swartz even though he had violated these statutes or to offer him a lenient plea."


Either way, even if we accept that breaching a licence agreement (whether it be downloading more than some arbitrary number of documents in a day or passing them on to others) can be a criminal matter in the first place. The decades of prison time he was being threatened with via the abuse of vague legislation was completely disproportionate.

Kerr wrote a followup post concerning what was the proper punishment for what Swartz did and estimating what he might have gotten if he had been convicted.

1.  Prosecutors never threatened him with "decades."  The first thing they told him was that, if he was convicted, they would argue for a sentence of seven years.

2.  Two days before Swartz killed himself, he was offered a plea deal that included six months or less of jail time.  He refused it.

Kerr's second post explains why some jail time was warranted in Swartz's case.

Read both posts, if you dare.
 
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