Anonymous Hacks MIT Site in Wake of Aaron Swartz’s Suicide [UPDATED]
The hacker group Anonymous defaced pages of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) site just hours after the school announced it would launch a full investigation into their role in Aaron Swartz's death. Swartz committed suicide on Friday while facing millions of dollars in fines and up to 50 years in prison for stealing documents from MIT and academic database JSTOR. In response, Anonymous has publicly called for the reform of computer crime laws and prosecution, and they've been busy the last few days petitioning the White House to classify DDoS attacks as a form of protest while also engaging in this hack of MIT.Read on...
Google May Make For Worse Students, Says Study Found Through Google
Google, knowledge-monger number 1, may actually be making students worse at researching say researchers involved in the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL) Project. The study, Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, soon to be published by the American Library Association, voices worries that Google is keeping students from learning about other databases and library services. Unfortunately, unless that study shows up on Google, few students will know what they're missing, apparently.
The study deals chiefly with addressing two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, it appears that students are becoming less and likely to ask librarians for help navigating databases. Perhaps they are afraid librarians will roll their eyes, scoff and think they are stupid for not being able to navigate academic
labyrinthsdatabases. As a result, students are losing out on the opportunity to learn the important skill that is digging up articles from JSTOR, as well as losing out on the quality JSTOR articles they might find. On the other hand, the study may be confirming that Google's interface, in all its user-friendliness, is making academic database searches look as archaic as they are. Perhaps the lack of student interest in traditional academic detective work is because it is an inefficient alternative.Read on...
Former Reddit Co-Owner Arrested for Excessive, Suspicious JSTOR Use
Yesterday, Aaron Swartz, former co-owner of Reddit, was arrested for downloading upwards of 4.5 million articles from the JSTOR academic archive, willfully evading MIT's attempts to stop him. The charges, according to Ars Technica, allege that Swartz "unlawfully obtain[ed] information" and "recklessly damag[ed]" a protected computer. Considering JSTOR is an academic, electronic library and most schools pay for unlimited access, these charges straddle a weird line between Swartz's potentially authorized uses and his suspected unauthorized intent. David Segal, an executive from the advocacy group Demand Progress that Swartz helped found, likened the charges to "trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library." While this may technically be the case, Swartz's methods of downloading this articles were decidedly suspicious, and clearly, defiantly against the wishes of MIT.Read on...