July 27, 2011 at 6:09 PM ET
Remember that Internet Robin Hood who was arrested for using MIT networks to download data? Turns out he was arrested and charged with two state offenses connected with the same download, way back in January.
Swartz, who founded a company that Reddit bought, is well known in Internet circles as a prolific coder and innovator, and is an active champion for open-access.
MIT's Information Services and Technology department, in connection with the Cambridge police, were monitoring Swartz's movements and downloads for a while before they confronted and arrested him (for the first time) in January. Wired's Threat Level posted a copy of the Cambridge police department's incident report online, which spills the full story behind that January incident.
So, here's how it happened. Cambridge police first heard that something was afoot when they got a call from a member of MIT's IS&T department, who'd noticed a foreign hard drive and laptop tucked inside a basement closet on their turf. The police took away the drive, searched it for prints before returning it, then installed a camera to track the person accessing the storage unit.
Police would later identify Swartz as the "white male, [with] dark or black shoulder length wavy hair, wearing a dark coat, gray backpack, jeans with a white bicycle helmet" who entered the room around 2:25 p.m.
All the while, MIT's IS&T monitored data downloads on their network, tracked the source to JSTOR (an academic journal database), and estimated the value of the data downloaded to be worth about $50,000.
Two days later, when someone who looked like Swartz returned to the room to collect his stuff, police were watching. Swartz had left the room before police got there, but the same day he was spotted by another policeman while riding his bike on campus. According to the report, police chased Swartz down a street, identified him and led him away in handcuffs.
"He was arrested for two counts of Breaking and Entering in the daytime with the intent to commit a felony, Chapter 266 Section 18," the report concludes.
[via Wired's Threat Level]
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