Aaron Swartz files reveal how FBI tracked internet activist

Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz. The FBI also collected information from his Facebook and Linkedin profiles. Photograph: Noah Berger/Reuters

A blogger has published once-classified FBI files that show how the agency tracked and collected information on internet activist Aaron Swartz.

Swartz, who killed himself in January aged 26, had previously requested his files and posted them on his blog, but some new documents and redactions are included in the files published by Firedoglake blogger Daniel Wright.

Wright was given 21 of 23 declassified documents, thanks to a rule that declassifies FBI files on the deceased. Wright said that he was told the other two pages of documents were not provided because of freedom of information subsections concerning privacy, “sources and methods,” and that can “put someone’s life in danger.”

The FBI’s files concern Swartz’s involvement in accessing the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (Pacer) documents. In pursuit of their investigation, the FBI had collected his personal information and was surveilling an Illinois address where he had his IP address registered.

Aaron H. Swartz FBI File by Daniel Wright


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Carl Malamud Unredacts Himself and Others In Aaron Swartz’s FBI File

By: Wednesday February 20, 2013 7:47 am

In response to Firedoglake’s release of Aaron Swartz’s FBI file Carl Malamud, a person named in the New York Times story referenced in the FBI file, went on to Boing Boing’s coverage of the story and posted a link to a PDF he prepared.

The PDF contains names superimposed over the official redactions made by the FBI, including Malamud’s name which was poorly veiled when the FBI redacted it within a block quote of a publicly available New York Times article within Swartz’s file.

These are not official disclosures they are Malamud’s stated views on the names that were redacted.

Note the name of the Times reporter and Mr. Malamud who was featured in the story and the censored quote.


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Anonymous hacked US State Dept, investment firm in homage to Aaron Swartz, Lulzsec



February 20, 2013 00:44
AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt

AFP Photo/Ronaldo Schemidt

Anonymous has announced it gained access to the State Department’s website, captured a database, and published it online. It also entered the site of investment firm George K. Baum & Company – all in the name of Aaron Swartz and Lulzsec.

The databases which they claimed to have obtained were posted on ZeroBin website. The data dump is part of “round five” of “Operation Last Resort” – Anonymous’ anti-US campaign which was launched shortly after the suicide of internet activist Aaron Swartz.

The group published the names and email addresses of State Department consular and careers staff members. In some cases, their phone numbers and date of birth were also revealed.

Anonymous also defaced the website of George K. Baum and Company, adding a page which linked to the firm’s client and user account credentials, passwords, phone numbers, and access to transaction information.

The group pointed out that the company is linked to Stratfor, a global intelligence firm whose systems were breached by Anonymous in December 2011.

The hacks appear to have been prompted by two things. First, they were to pay respect to Aaron Swartz – an internet activist who faced up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the alleged theft of online journals with the intent to post them online. Swartz hanged himself in his New York apartment last month, in the midst of his controversial case.

Secondly, the hacks appeared to be revenge for the arrests of members of the Lulzsec group – a hacking collective which has claimed responsibility for a number of high profile hacks, including Sony Pictures in 2011, SC Magazine reports.


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