Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz

I just finished speaking to an official at the Secret Service’s FOIA office who told me that all of the Aaron Swartz files that are to be released will be posted to the Secret Services’ FOIA Library. The entire FOIA process has been frustrating and annoying, but thanks to a lawsuit by Kevin Poulsen over at Wired, not fruitless. Without that lawsuit it’s likely the Secret Service would have denied all requests, or as they did to me, kept people in limbo for the foreseeable future.

The first batch of files the Secret Service released is 104 pages out of what will apparently be over 14,000 pages. Please download them and distribute them widely in case of re-classification.

Even given what we know about the volatile and dangerous growth of the Surveillance State thanks to Edward Snowden, it is surprising so much information was collected by the Secret Service for such a minor offense as downloading too many free files. Over 14,000 pages? Really? FBI, Secret Service, who was this man of mystery?

And what’s more, I and others have yet more requests into other government agencies that were tracking Enemy of the State Swartz. All in Massachusetts as the Boston Bombers plotted. Great use of resources.

I figured when/if these files eventually came out it would be a good opportunity to discuss the larger implications of having out-of-control state power combined with new technology, but you get that right? It doesn’t really need to be said, we have the panopticon society many have warned us about, and little to no restrictions thanks to a compromised legislature that no longer speaks for the people.

So in the coming days and weeks, as more is released on the truly asinine investigation and prosecution that drove Swartz to suicide, the case that something is deeply wrong with our country need not be made. We understand our current system of government and its threat to our future.

What to do about it is the real conversation.

Photo Courtesy of Quinn Norton released under Creative Commons License