Maybe MIT is right?

Yesterday a report came out saying that MIT had asked the court to block a FOIA release of the Secret Service file on Aaron Swartz. TechDirt has a story about it. Please read it before continuing with this piece.

Key: “The judge has consented to putting a stay on the initial order until MIT can file its motion.”

It seems fair to assume that the MIT plea had some merit or the judge wouldn’t have consented to the stay. Even so, TechDirt, normally a reputable pub, says the reason MIT wants it blocked is that it will “make MIT look bad.” How do they know that’s the reason?

Typical of the editorial coverage of Aaron Swartz, post-suicide, there is only black and white. Aaron, good. MIT and the govt, bad. Aaron, innocent victim. MIT and the govt, persecutors of Aaron. To keep this up there has had to be some egregiously bad reporting.

Personal opinion: I don’t think MIT would try to block the release of the data if it was just a matter of them looking bad. My guess is that there are names of MIT people in the report, and yes I know the names are redacted, but we also know that it’s possible to leave the names out without obscuring the identity of the people involved.

Net-net: If MIT deserves condemnation, let’s at least know what we’re condemning them for.

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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