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Cambridge Man Charged With Stealing Documents From MIT

At right, Aaron Swartz (Joi/Flickr)

At right, Aaron Swartz (Joi/Flickr)

BOSTON — A student at Harvard University’s Center for Ethics has been charged with stealing nearly 5 million academic documents.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston on Tuesday charged Aaron Swartz, 24, of Cambridge, with breaking into one of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s computer centers and connecting to their system. Authorities then say Swartz downloaded millions of documents from the JSTOR archive of academic journals.

Swartz, a well-known computer programmer, at the age of 14, helped to create RSS feeds, which allow people to get updates from their favorite web sites. In recent years, he has been working on a political action group called Demand Progress, which reports on the influence of money on politics, non-profits and the media. Swarz was a fellow at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics.

Swartz was released on $100,000 unsecured bond after pleading not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday to charges including wire fraud. He faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

— Here’s the U.S. Attorney’s release (on Scribd):

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