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[liberationtech] Fighting over-zealous investigators (Re: Petition to remove DA Ortiz)

Griffin Boyce griffinboyce at gmail.com
Tue Jan 15 13:02:41 PST 2013


  There is also a petition to remove Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Heymann
for his heavy-handed tactics.[1] In addition to Aaron Swartz, he also led
the case against Jonathan James, who tragically passed away at age 24. Two
weeks after his home was raided by Heymann's team.

  I know that there is insistence to not vilify these people, but they must
be shown that they are not above reproach. These tactics are not only
ineffective, they are designed precisely to make life harder for people.
Jonathan James proclaimed his innocence until the day he died, but was
denied his day in court because of harsh treatment and the history of
fiercely one-sided conspiracy cases.

  I am absolutely *sick* of seeing the best minds of my generation being
put through the spin cycle by overzealous investigators. And I am equally
sick of seeing the community shy away from them when that happens. When
AIDS activists go to jail, they organize from within.  When they get out of
jail, they are supported by friends and allies and are able to continue
their work.  This paranoia that pervades our community hinders people who
might want to organize effectively -- which is exactly the point. Do not
think for a moment that this is not intentional.

  Some of the most successful companies in America have been founded by
hackers, and yet the climate is such that legal activities like
cryptography, anonymity, or high-level computer science make people
nervous.  Why is that something we've been putting up with?

  So yes, sign these petitions, but also write letters in support of your
stance. Call people. Send faxes. Talk to the media. Hold vigils. Make
trouble. Do not let these people take away your rights of protest and
intellectual curiosity.

Stay safe out there,
Griffin Boyce

[1] Heymann petition:
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/fire-assistant-us-attorney-steve-heymann/RJKSY2nb

On Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 2:50 PM, Jordan McCarthy <jrmccarthy at stanford.edu>wrote:

>
> https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-united-states-district-attorney-carmen-ortiz-office-overreach-case-aaron-swartz/RQNrG1Ck
>
> The probably efficacy of this effort is questionable, of course.  But it
> seems like a somewhat more appropriately-targeted effort than the
> petition being aimed at MIT
> (http://open.scripts.mit.edu/blog/petition/), which has already showed
> clear signs of contrition (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21011663).
>
> < Jordan
>
> --
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> --
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-- 
"What do you think Indians are supposed to look like?
What's the real difference between an eagle feather fan
and a pink necktie? Not much."
~Sherman Alexie

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