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The Boston Globe



US attorney went too far in pursuing Aaron Swartz

One can never know what drives another person to suicide, especially someone who, like Internet-freedom activist Aaron Swartz, suffered from crippling depression. In the aftermath of his death last week, it is unfair for his supporters to pin the blame on US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, whose office was prosecuting Swartz on a variety of criminal charges, or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which by some accounts encouraged the government to take a tough line.

At the same time, the fact that Swartz’s death was his own choice does not mean the US Attorney’s Office and the university acted properly. Ortiz’s office, at least, did not; the government was far too intent on giving Swartz prison time for offenses that appear quite minor on close examination.

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