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Harvard researcher arrested on hacking charges

Harvard researcher arrested on hacking charges

A Harvard researcher Aaron Swartz has been arrested in Boston for broke into the computer networks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to gain access to JSTOR, a non-profit online service for distributing scholarly articles, and downloaded 4.8 million articles and other documents - nearly the entire library

Swartz was something of an internet folk hero as a teenager when he helped create RSS, a computer code that allows people to receive automatic feeds of online notices and news. He has emerged as a civil liberties activist who crusades for open access to data.

In 2008, Mr Swartz released a ''Guerilla Open Access Manifesto'', calling for activists to ''fight back'' against the sequestering of scholarly papers behind pay walls.

''It's time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture,'' he wrote. One goal: ''We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file-sharing networks.''

He faces up to 35 years in prison and $US1 million ($932 million) in fines for charges including wire fraud and computer fraud. He was released on a $US100,000 unsecured bond.

he indictment also alleges that on January 6, Swartz went to the wiring closet to remove the laptop, attempting to shield his identity by holding a bike helmet in front of his face, and seeing his way through its ventilation holes. It said that he fled when MIT police tried to question him that day.

An MIT spokeswoman said the school had no comment on the apparent breach.
McGregor said JSTOR recognizes it's very difficult for any institution at any level to protect its data.

''Hacking is rampant,'' she said. ''Protecting systems is a huge challenge right now for any industry, and in the academic space it's especially challenging because we all want to be as open as we can and have policies that promote use.''



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