MIT Files Court Papers “Partially” Opposing Release Of Documents About Aaron Swartz Investigation

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is “partially” opposing a request by the estate of Aaron Swartz for the release of documents related to the investigation that led to Swartz’s arrest and prosecution in federal court.

In court papers filed today, MIT counsel states that its opposition stems from two factors: its concerns about people in the MIT community named in the documents and the security of its computer networks.

MIT has previously stated that it would release the documents with redactions of names and other information. MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in email to the MIT community earlier this month:

On Friday, the lawyers for Aaron Swartz’s estate filed a legal request with the Boston federal court where the Swartz case would have gone to trial. They demanded that the court release to the public information related to the case, including many MIT documents. Some of these documents contain information about vulnerabilities in MIT’s network. Some contain the names of individual MIT employees involved. In fact, the lawyers’ request argues that those names cannot be excluded (”redacted”) from the documents and urges that they be released in the public domain and delivered to Congress.

The paper filed today reiterates this position, basing it on threats already made to MIT staff and three separate hacking incidents at the university.

The information includes “email, the names, job titles, departments, telephone numbers, email addresses, business addresses, and other identifying information of many members of the MIT community.”

Swartz has become a symbol in the Internet community since his suicide. His supporters have led the debate about the role MIT played in Swartz’s prosecution and the vigilance of the U.S. Attorney General in the case.

MIT claims it is fully cooperating in the investigation that has come since Swartz’s suicide.