So when the government warns us that Chinese hardware manufacturers are selling stuff that will make us vulnerable to being spied on, we shouldn't listen. But when Ars Technica and Robert Graham pass along such a warning, then it's finally time to listen? ;)
I don't think this would hold up in court. If the president of the company, speaking on the company's behalf, states that they will not sue for people using their patents, and then sued someone for using their patents, you can bet easy money that the defense will hold that quote up to the judge.
...and the judge would give it some real weight, if not outright dismiss the entire case because of it. It's a concept known as "promissory estoppel": a promise doesn't have to be a signed contract to have real legal force behind it.
Love him, hate him, agree, disagree...the guy is passionate about his stuff and has repeatedly put his money where his mouth is.
SpaceX, clean energy... and the Hyperloop project. He came up with the idea but said he was too busy with SpaceX and Tesla to run it. But that isn't stopping him from putting up the money to construct a track (in Texas, IIRC) for those who are working on it to test their capsules, which is kind of awesome of him.
A hotel owner isn't going to give someone a room unless they give up a certain amount of personal information. It clearly isn't voluntary. It's a requirement -- one that's no different than AT&T refusing to give you cellphone service unless it can collect data on calls made and received, along with a certain amount of location data to ensure no roaming fees go uncollected. This "exchange" is no more "voluntary" than the hotel/customer exchange. But yet, the government continues to insist it is, and it is very rarely challenged on this assertion.
...but if you don't want to voluntarily turn this information over, you're free to not do business with the entity attempting to collect this information, right? Vote with your wallet, just go to the competition who's providing better service and asking less questions, and let the Invisible Hand of the Free Market magically come to the rescue.
What I'm saying is that slapping a label like "depression" on someone (in the complete absence of any clinical diagnosis as far as I'm aware, I should add) does not magically absolve them of the fundamental concept of "responsibility for one's own actions"--which seems to be the basic turning point of this entire kerfuffle.
Aaron simply spoofed his MAC address, like any computer literate person would do when a device isn't connecting to a network.
As a computer literate person, I take exception to this. If my computer wouldn't connect to the network, I would attempt to troubleshoot the issue, and if was unable to resolve it on my own I would speak with the network administrators. If they told me that I was blocked, I would attempt to resolve the issue like a civilized human being, by reasoning with someone with the authority to remove the block... or just find a different network. Instructing my computer to lie about its identity in order to break into a network that someone in authority had deliberately locked me out of would never even cross my mind; that is the act of a criminal, not "a computer-literate person".
How does what he did "amount to a sit-in or a protest"? One of the distinguishing characteristics of a sit-in or a protest is that, being a political act, it is highly visible and designed to attract attention. This is the exact opposite of Swartz's hacking, which was stealthy and designed to evade attention.
Just because you like what he was trying to accomplish does not mean that how he was going about accomplishing it should be justified. Otherwise, you are literally arguing that the ends justify the means... when it's ends you agree with.
The MIT campus network gave anyone -- even guests -- full access to the JSTOR archives if you were on the university network. Swartz took advantage of that to download many files -- leading to his arrest, and a whole bunch of charges against him.
Swartz was sure he had done nothing illegal or wrong.
As has been pointed out before when you've posted articles about the supposed "persecution" of Aaron Swartz, this is nowhere near the whole story. IIRC the relevant part is the bit where--before getting arrested--his network access had been revoked for previous shenanigans.
MIT was running a network that, as you point out, was open to the public, even guests. In the real world, if you run a business that is open to the general public, but one specific person causes trouble and management tells them to leave because they aren't welcome, and then they come back, no one would find it unreasonable to call the police and have them arrested for trespassing.
Why is it that when Aaron Swartz does something that is exactly equivalent to this crime, except on a computer, that everyone tries to defend him and say he did nothing wrong?
"But once you spend some time looking at them, some of the things proposed would be devastating to the future of the industry."
So... continuing to not be able to do something that you are currently unable to do, but are doing just fine without, is going to destroy you in the future, even though your competitors will also not be able to do this thing?
Anyone else think this guy's spreading it on a little thick?