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MIT announces it will hold community meetings to discuss Swartz case

Posted by Your Town  September 6, 2013 04:02 PM

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MIT will hold a series of community meetings to discuss questions raised in the Aaron Swartz case, university officials announced.

Provost Chris Kaiser and Faculty Chair Steven Hall wrote in an e-mail to the MIT community that the school will hold in-person gatherings to talk about questions posed by the authors of “MIT and the Prosecution of Aaron Swartz,” a report to MIT President Rafael Reif that was shared publicly on July 30.

“Upon the release of the report, whose independent undertaking was led by Professors Hal Abelson and Peter Diamond, President Reif asked us to create a process that will allow MIT community members to engage with the report and the questions it raises,” Hall and Kaiser wrote Thursday in the e-mail. “President Reif believes, as we do, that informed discussion will allow us to determine how MIT can best respond to the report’s findings—as well as to think carefully about broad issues around open access, intellectual property, and ethics in the digital domain.”

Aaron Swartz committed suicide in January. He had been charged with hacking into MIT computers and illegally downloading millions of academic papers. MIT officials released an internal review of the university’s actions in late July, which found that the school never “targeted” Swartz and committed no wrongdoing.

The e-mail also said that MIT has created a website for community members to offer their thoughts on eight questions written by the report’s authors.

“It is our hope that this site will be useful for our in-person meetings: the thoughts you offer online will inform and enrich a dialog that should prove highly valuable to the Institute,” Kaiser and Hall said.

Katherine Landergan can be reached at klandergan@globe.com. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

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