WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aaron Swartz’s apparent suicide struck a nerve with fellow internet activists. The so-called “hacktivist” group Anonymous claims they took control of the US Sentencing Commission’s website over the weekend.
On the website’s home page? A manifesto, in which the group demanded reform to the American justice system.
The group also claims they infiltrated several government computer systems, and is threatening to publish secret information about the U.S. Department of Justice.
All of this stems from Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz’s January 11th suicide, which is believed by some to be the dead end to a long, winding legal battle.
Just 26-years-old at the time of his death, Swartz was facing up to 35 years in prison on computer fraud charges. The alleged crime? Downloading millions of academic articles, though it’s argued that Swartz intended to distribute them for free.
Swartz’s legal woes didn’t sit too well with some. Many saw the charges against Swartz as an attempt to block the free flow of information.
It didn’t take long for the US Sentencing Commission’s website to get back up and running. But there’s no doubt that Anonymous got the government’s attention.