Former Reddit Employee Charged with Data Theft

Illustration for article titled Former Reddit Employee Charged with Data Theft

Aaron Swartz, a 24-year-old programmer and former Reddit employee, has been indicted on charges of stealing 4 million documents from MIT and JSTOR. He's accused of breaking into a restricted area of MIT to access MIT's computer network.


According to the NY Times, the charges were filed by United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz and could result in 35 years of prison time and a $1 million fine. Ortiz said that Swartz has broke into a computer wiring closet in a restricted area of MIT to tap into the MIT computer network and stole over 4 million documents from JSTOR, an archive of academic papers.

Many outlets are reporting that Swartz is a co-founder of Reddit which is untrue. When we reached Alexis Ohanian, a co-founder of Reddit along with Steve Huffman, for comment, he stated:

He is absolutely not a founding member. We acquired his company in December, 6 months after Steve and I launched reddit.


Swartz worked for Reddit after his company was acquired but was relieved of his duties soon after. [NY Times, Image Credit: Wikipedia]

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35 years seems way out of proportion. What will the LulzBoat people get when caught? I think that stealing information seems to carry a heavier punishment than nearly everything else. I realize this is a maximum - does anyone here know perhaps what might be a realistic figure?