The Case of Aaron Swartz: Justice in the Cyber Age




Scott Horton, Christopher Soghoian, Trevor Timm, Wesley Yang, and Molly Land discussed the Aaron Swartz case, looking at various implications of the Swartz tragedy and examining the following questions:


How can the law catch up with technology and innovation? Was the prosecution representative of law enforcement's behavior towards the hactivist community? Was it a symptom of the prosecutorial overreach present throughout the judicial system? Does the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act warrant reconsideration? Where does the issue of freedom of information fit in this, and other cases? Should there be limits to freedom of information and how should we, as a society, assess those limits?


Watch the video of the entire discussion here:


Scott Horton is a lecturer at Columbia Law School, and a noted New York attorney, known for his work in emerging markets and international law. Horton was a partner at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler until January 2007, when he left to wrote a book on private military contractors and to manage a project on that subject for Human Rights First. He has been a legal affairs and national security contributor to Harper's magazine and the author of a regular opinion column for the American Lawyer since April 2007. 

Christopher Soghoian is the Principal Technologist and a Senior Policy Analyst with the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. Between 2009 and 2010, he was the first ever in-house technologist at the Federal Trade Commission's Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, where he worked on investigations of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Netflix. Prior to joining the FTC, he co-created the Do Not Track privacy anti-tracking mechanism now adopted by all of the major web browsers. 

Trevor Timm is co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a journalist, activist, and lawyer who writes a twice weekly column for The Guardian on privacy, free speech, and national security. He has contributed to The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, Harvard Law and Policy Review, PBS MediaShift, and Politico. 

Wesley Yang is contributing editor at New York Magazine. His essay entitled, "The Life and Afterlife of Aaron Swartz," published in New York Magazine, was called "the best essay yet on Aaron Swartz" by the National Review. Yang's work has appeared in The New York Times, n+1, Bookforum, The Tablet Magazine, and the anthology Best Creative Nonfiction. 

Molly Land is professor of law at the University of Connecticut School. Land's scholarship focuses on the effect of new technologies on human rights fact-finding, advocacy, and enforcement. Her current work explores the extent to which human rights law can provide a foundation for claims of access to the Internet, as well as the opportunities and challenges for using new technologies to achieve human rights objectives. Her articles have been published in Yale, Harvard, and Michigan journals of international law, among other places, and she speaks and lectures widely on the relationship between technology and human rights advocacy.