Bloomberg News

MIT Can Withhold Names in Swartz Suicide Probe, Court Rules (1)

May 13, 2013

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology doesn’t have to disclose names of professors and law enforcement agents when it releases documents related to the case of Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide while awaiting trial on charges of stealing electronic files.

U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said the names of the MIT professors and agents in documents to be produced for public viewing could be concealed to protect them from harm, according to a filing in Boston today.

“The estate’s interest in disclosing the identity of individuals named in the production, as it relates to enhancing the public’s understanding of the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Swartz, is substantially outweighed by the interest of the government and the victims in shielding their employees from potential retaliation,” Gorton said in his order.

Swartz was arrested in 2001 and charged with unlawfully entering MIT’s computer network and downloading more than 4 million articles and documents from journals and distributing them for free.

Facing a possible sentence of 30 years if convicted, the 26-year-old hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment last year. His family blamed the university and U.S. prosecutors for his death and sought to have the documents released without omissions.

The criminal case was U.S. v. Swartz, 1:11-cr-10260, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha

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