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The hacktivist group Anonymous temporarily defaced the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) website late Sunday night in retribution for the suicide of the founder of RSS and Reddit, Aaron Swartz.
Anonymous replaced the prestigious university's official landing page with a memoriam for Internet entrepreneur Aaron Swartz, who hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment on Friday.
“Aaron, we will sorely miss your friendship and your help in building a better world,” read the memoriam signed by anonymous. “May you read in peace.”
The secretive organization, known for conducting vigilante style attacks online, also claimed credit through their official Twitter handle linking to a statement in explaining the purpose of the hack.
“We tender apologies to the administrators at MIT for this temporary use of their websites,” they wrote. “[W]e do not consign blame or responsibility upon MIT for what has happened, but call for all those feel heavy-hearted in their proximity to this awful loss to acknowledge instead the responsibility they have — that we all have — to build and safeguard a future that would make Aaron proud, and honour the ideals and dedication that burnt so brightly within him.”
Before his death, Swartz was facing prosecution for an alleged hack the MIT’s computer database in which he allegedly stole millions of academic documents then posting them online for free public consumption.
Anonymous has argued the legal battle in which Swartz was embroiled played a significant role in his decision to take his own life on Friday.
“Whether or not the government contributed to his suicide, the government’s prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice, a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for,” read a portion of the memoriam.
Anonymous further contended that “freeing the publicly-funded scientific literature” is “an ideal that we should all support.”
The group used the attempt to demand a change in laws relating to computer crimes and intellectual property.
“We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws and the overzealous prosecutors who use them.”
A spokesperson for MIT was not made available to Campus Reform for comment by the time of publication.
Follow the author of this article on twitter: @josiahryan
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