Aaron Swartz, co-founder of social news site Reddit and founder/director of Internet political action group Demand Progress, was indicted in Boston today on charges that he stole more than 4 million documents from M.I.T. and Jstor, an archive of academic journals and papers, The New York Times reported. The charges could result in up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz filed the charges against Swartz, including wire fraud, computer fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer, and criminal forfeiture. In a statement, Ortiz said that Swartz broke into a restricted area of M.I.T. and entered a computer wiring closet, where he allegedly accessed the university’s computer network and stole millions of documents from Jstor.
“Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data, or dollars,” said Ortiz.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston said that Swartz “surrendered today, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Boston this morning, and pled not guilty to all counts. He was released on $100,000 unsecured bond. His next court date is Sept. 9, 2011, for a status conference.”