MIT Moves to Intervene in Release of Aaron Swartz's Secret Service File

MIT claims it’s afraid the release of Swartz’s file will identify the names of MIT people who helped the Secret Service and federal prosecutors pursue felony charges against Swartz for his bulk downloading of academic articles from MIT’s network in 2011.

Why? Let the public know who exactly was responsible for this mess. It’s sad to see educational institutions who are supposed to be beacons of knowledge and information be so restrictive. It was a chance for MIT to set a new precedent in transparency given the events of the last couple of month, but it looks like they decided to take a big L instead. 

I have never, in fifteen years of reporting, seen a non-governmental party argue for the right to interfere in a Freedom of Information Act release of government documents. My lawyer has been litigating FOIA for decades, and he’s never encountered it either. It’s saddening to see an academic institution set this precedent.

Stories like this continue to depress me further in light of PRISM, the NSA and big brother in general.