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Or, you know, you could just call your local Congressperson and complain. This is far more likely to have a direct impact on her job (performance of, or continued employment) than some random internet "naming and shaming." It is also far more likely to bring about the structural changes necessary to prevent this from happening again.

...as they have disabled the voice of the people by routing around jury trials.

Aaron had the option of going to trial. It was his constitutional right. He chose to kill himself instead.

...and they are appointed rather than subject to elections

The history of the South should provide enough justification for why federal prosecutors are never elected. You do not want enforcement of federal crimes subject to popular whims or to political pressures. Too often, political pressure leads to overzealous enforcement of criminal statutes, not reasoned enforcement (see, e.g., Maricopa County).




The goal must be to get her fired for abuse of power. Getting the press involved is the only way to accomplish this. Calling a Congressman by itself will only help if done in a huge and coordinated way. That kind of suggestion on its own is a safety valve, the sort of futile thing that people who don't want see justice served would suggest. As for the justification of putting prosecutors beyond elections because of "the South": Reconstruction and Jim Crow have somehow become the excuse for birthing a class of invulnerable prosecutors that threaten a young Jewish kid in Boston with 35 years in jail for downloading some history PDFs! We really licked Jim Crow now, good job! I am sure that burning the democracy to save it makes some sense in some universe, but not this one.

No matter. The fact that this woman cannot be disciplined by electoral measures is what necessitates the use of the Internet and the press:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5048632


> Or, you know, you could just call your local Congressperson and complain.

Isn't that part-and-parcel of naming-and-shaming?

Most of the commenters seem to think that name-and-shame means "write about it on your blog" or "retweet something", I guess. A tweet doesn't get someone fired; calling your local congressperson is definitely the thing to do.


Good 'ol internet myopia.


> Aaron had the option of going to trial. It was his constitutional right. He chose to kill himself instead.

It was not a real option. He had run out of money for an expensive, complex case. He was sure to lose.


Robert Morris created the first worm on the Internet and was the first person prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He was convicted and sentenced to probation. He's now a tenured MIT professor and was a co-founder of Y Combinator.

For someone of Aaron's talent and reputation there is no reason that he could not have gotten past a felony conviction and lived a successful life.

I can only interpret Lessig's post:

"...the question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a “felon.” For in the 18 months of negotiations, that was what he was not willing to accept..."

I don't know what the government actually offered, but it doesn't seem unreasonable that Aaron would have been able to get a deal with a relatively light sentence, maybe just probation. It sounds from Lessig's post like his hangup was that he wasn't willing to accept a felony conviction. I hope that's not the case because even with a felony record he most likely would have lived a long and successful life.


> but it doesn't seem unreasonable that Aaron would have been able to get a deal with a relatively light sentence

Being sentenced and getting a record for doing something you feel is right is not something everybody takes equally lightly. Personally I couldn't care less but I can see how someone with stronger principles would react much stronger to this.


Aaron sounds like an idealist in an extreme sense. He probably did not feel that what he did was wrong, and that accepting the label of 'felon' was an affront to the truth.


People handle adversity differently. It seems Aaron had internal pressures and this trial had definitely increased these pressures.


That was a very, very long time ago. Do you really think that with the way that the U.S. is now that Aaron would have won?


In some jurisdictions (most I believe) felons aren't allowed to vote. If someone believes in democracy and the freedom to vote and have a voice, how do you think they would feel about being so marginalized?


> Or, you know, you could just call your local Congressperson and complain.

Almost certainly zero impact for this. Easily ignored. The prosecutor in this case, however, probably could not easily ignore her friends and family dumping her.


Do you really think your internet activism will cause her family and friends to "dump" her?


I hate to say this, but 4chan will take care of this and they will be effective.


That's a crapshoot. Either they will get the local media to care about it for a day or two, then fizzle, or they will get the local pizza place really pissed off, or someone will do something drastic and a bunch more arrests will start being made.

Getting 4chan to apply the right amount of pressure to the right place seems to be like trying to get an apathetic redneck to remove a tree stump for you. Chances are he's either going to whack it a few times with an axe and declare it unmovable, or blow it up. (To be fair, blowing it up works great, but can get people in trouble rather easily)


MIT.edu is down. Let's see what comes next.


Worked with SOPA.


It's worth a shot.


I plant seeds for others to think about and hopefully replant.


That's about as realistic as expecting people to dump Aaron by telling them he downloaded a bunch of files without paying for them. It made him a hero.

You talk to her friends and family about her, and you'll just make her a hero in their eyes, the same way Aaron's actions made him a hero to reddit and 4chan.


There are a few "heroes" who are still outwardly racist. But for the most part they've withered under the glare of others. Ostracizing and shaming works wonders.


It's not just getting her fired, but also the public shaming as an end in itself. Political figures, who are in a position of an incredible amount of power/leverage over the rest of us, need to know that they must do only what "the public" thinks is acceptable and not whatever day-to-day tirade they get off on.




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