Judge Orders Aaron Swartz's Secret Files Released From The Shadows

In what may seem like a surprising move, a federal judge has demanded the government release Secret Service files concerning web activist Aaron Swartz.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had harsh words for the government the other day—or at least as harsh as you can be in a legal demand—when she ordered the authorities to finally release its secret dossier on Reddit cofounder and web activist Aaron Swartz. Her demand is that the government "promptly" release the relevant documents and any it locates in the future "on a rolling basis."

The information had been requested by Wired writer Kevin Poulsen under a FOIA lawsuit against the Departments of Homeland Security. He alleges the government has been using roadblock and delay tactics to prevent the file reaching the public, hence the new ruling. The Secret Service was the agency that investigated Swartz over his bulk downloads from the academic file database JSTOR, and it was this investigation that led to a lawsuit against Swartz. Swartz committed suicide in January, leading to a headline-grabbing outcry against what were perceived as heavy-handed tactics by a prosecutor.

[Image: By Flickr user Peretz Partensky]

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