MIT report says it didn't seek federal charges against Aaron Swartz

The institute remained neutral on the case, according to a report reviewing its role

By , IDG News Service |  Security

MIT and JSTOR observed massive downloading of articles beginning in September 2010 and identified it as coming from a laptop connected to MIT's network. But they didn't learn that Swartz was responsible for the downloading until after his initial arrest for breaking and entering, the report found. MIT called in a Cambridge Police detective to help with its investigation of the downloading, and that detective arrived on campus with a federal Secret Service agent, but MIT didn't request the Secret Service's involvement, it said.

But MIT's neutrality stance didn't take into consideration Swartz's contributions to Internet technology, and it didn't take into consideration the background of policy issues "in which MIT people have traditionally been passionate leaders," the report said.

"MIT missed an opportunity to demonstrate the leadership that we pride ourselves on," the report said.

"From studying this review of MIT's role, I am confident that MIT's decisions were reasonable, appropriate and made in good faith," Reif wrote in a letter released Tuesday. "I have heard from many in our community who believe our actions were proper and justified. Others feel differently."

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