Just a note, but it's possible what Aaron did actually was legal. There was an article  by an expert witness in the case posted earlier today. So I think the trial would have been revealing. Admittedly the article doesn't prove anything, but I think everyone has so far been assuming Aaron's guilt. And while there is no denying the acts that he committed, they may have been legal.
That article contains one obvious bald faced lie: "Aaron did nothing to cover his tracks or hide his activity". That's just not true. He covered his face with a bicycle helmet and walked backwards to keep a camera from capturing his identity. He changed MAC addresses to evade detection. And when faced with police, he ran rather than show his face and identify himself.
I can understand an advocate stretching the truth, but when the lies are this obvious, it gets insulting.
I've known Alex Stamos for years; he is now a colleague of mine. There is no chance that he set out to deceive anyone with that post. If there were mistakes in his writeup, they were made in good faith. The whole case was complicated; read Swartz's motion to suppress evidence to see just a few of the twists and turns.
Stamos had nothing to gain from pushing a particular perspective. He was attached to the case as an expert witness and drew reasonable conclusions from the issues he was directly confronted with.
Thanks for explaining that Stamos has a good reputation.
I get that the case is complex. But there's just no excuse for writing that "Aaron did nothing to cover his tracks or hide his activity". None at all. And if Stamos was willing to update his blog and explain that that statement is not true, I'll happily agree that he made a mistake while acting in good faith.
But until he does that, I think it is fair to assume that he either acted dishonestly with intent to deceive or that he's really incompetent.
Look, everyone makes mistakes. I do all the time. But when honest people make mistakes, they fix them. I'd be happy with a correction on his personal blog where I first saw the statement rather than io9. Just fix a single sentence.
But if Stamos refuses to fix that sentence which is glaringly wrong, then it indicates he either doesn't know the most basic facts of the case or he's trying to deceive people.
I agree, it isn't a definitive source proving that Aaron was innocent. My main point was that btilly said it was "clearly illegal". And I've seen that point reiterated multiple times. Nearly every article I've seen has assumed his quilt. So I just wanted to point out that there is another side.
No, it just means he's not the impartial expert on the facts that some seem to be imagining him to be. I'm sure the prosecution had an expert witness who could have written a post saying "Aaron would have been found guilty."
True. But if we assume everyone put on the stand in a trial is a paid shill, lieing for one side or the other, we also have to assume that that the court system is a sham and there's no point in a trial.
I'd rather assume that we can find smart, honest experts who happen to disagree, and that we can trust what they are saying to be their view of reality.
Presumably it was the incident that left a bruise in the govt's eye and they never forgot it. But that is speculation, we don't know of course (even as tax payers who bankroll this crap) what goes into decision and who decides how and to what level of fervor cases get prosecuted.