I’m new to the “startup community,” so I have no personal connection to Aaron Swartz. I’m not close to him or anyone who is close to him.
But I follow the twitter feeds of many folks who did know him, and I’ve been following the legal proceedings that have dogged him the last couple of years.
Insane. Horrible. Ridiculous.
This was nothing more than the legal tyranny of a US Attorney engaging in a pissing contest with another human being’s life hanging in the balance. There is no other explanation for why someone would be threatened with close to a life sentence for trying to make information publicly available.
Aaron Swartz may have broken some laws, arguably. But the legal response was completely out of proportion to the purported crime. To pursue such a draconian sentence against a person who meant no harm is perverse and an disturbing waste of scarce federal legal enforcement resources.
I have worked with a many US attorneys, and I know a good many more. Some of them are extraordinarily kind. I represented a pro bono client opposite an AUSA who went out of her way to be gracious and sympathetic toward the woman she was prosecuting, giving her every opportunity to avail herself of legal remedies she was not obligated to permit.
And then there’s this.