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Details of FBI Probe into Internet Activist Aaron Swartz Released

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NORTHRIDGE (BlackVault) -- February 19, 2013 -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released   to The Black Vault website ( )  the details of a 2009 investigation into internet activist Aaron Swartz .   Swartz, an internet prodigy and self-made millionaire, was the subject of a probe into the misuse of the "Public Access to Court Electronic Records", or PACER.   PACER houses more than 500-million documents from the U.S. district courts, U.S. courts of appeals, and the U.S. bankruptcy courts.

According to the Bureau, the Government Printing Office (GPO) realized the computer system that hosted the PACER database was compromised, and a single-user session was being used to download millions of pages from the digital archive.   Only seventeen libraries were authorized to access the files at that time, but it was believed that Swartz figured out a way to get in from outside those locations, and continually download documents without using the proper channels.

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Although the information was in the public domain, the government was to be paid 8 cents per page for any digital copies obtained from the PACER system, and accessed only from the seventeen authorized libraries.   But Swartz circumvented the proper channels, and directly accessed the information from the outside.  

They estimated that Swartz downloaded more than 18-million documents, and uploaded them to a document-sharing site onto the internet for the world to see.   The newly released FBI File of Swartz chronicles the FBI investigation into this computer breach from 2009.  

The documents detail their search for Swartz and the tracking of his multiple social-network pages on Facebook and Linkedin, and even made note of his personal blog.

After his alleged suicide at the young age of 26, Swartz's supporters believe that there is much more to the story that authorities are not releasing. These documents may shed some light on the investigation, and the relentless pursuit to prosecute him.

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You can download the FBI file of Aaron Swartz at:

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John Greenewald, Jr. -

In 1996, John Greenewald, Jr. began researching the secret inner workings of the U.S. Government at the young age of fifteen. With targets like the CIA, FBI, Pentagon, Air Force, (more...)

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