As was expected from the global hacker organization, Anonymous has taken action in response to the death of Aaron Swartz.
Swartz was facing charges that, if convicted, would have put him in prison for 35 years for a crime that is considered by many to be the same thing as checking out too many books from the library. He had connected to the MIT network and from there downloaded 4 million articles from JSTOR, a digital library of academic journals, many of which were free. On January 11, before he even went to trial, Swartz hung himself in his Brooklyn apartment.
His death has sent flames rising around the internet with people clamoring for a review of computer crime law, which are archaic and were formed when the internet was young and not at all what it is today. And while we all unfortunately know what happened to Swartz, many have been asking what happened to those 4 million files he downloaded back in 2011. Anonymous has answered by releasing the downloaded articles today and making them available to internet users everywhere.
TylerSec, a hacktivist and a member of Anonymous, launched the Tyler Network on December 23, 2012. It is TylerSec’s database of uploaded files that anyone can access, and today 33gb of the files Aaron Swartz downloaded were released as “the First leak from the Anonymous Tyler Network,” as referred to in a file on Pastebin.
The file, which sounds like a declaration of war just as much as it does a warning, is addressed to “Attorney Carmen Ortiz, Stephen Heymann and MIT corporate fucktards,” the people held responsible for the oppressive persecution of Aaron Swartz. The letter does not mince words and it is dripping with venom, beginning with:
and ending with:
“The people you are after are the people that society depends on: we write songs, we create art, we build, we invent, we feel love and laugh, we will defend our freedom to our last breath. Do not fuck with us.”
Towards the end are instructions on how to find the released files on the Tyler Network. There is speculation that these files are just an old dump that Anonymous released last year, but it is still too early to tell. Either way, if you are interested in seeing what files are so valuable that they’re worth putting a young man away in prison for 35 years then just follow the data-lined road laid out by TylerSec.
But if I were one of the addressees of the Pastebin file I’d be very disconcerted. The final line of the file is only two words long: ‘Expect us,’ and unless those words are attached to a party RSVP, when Anonymous says them you can be sure something is coming. Sony learned that the hard way.