In the case of Aaron Swartz, I believe that it was ethical for him to breach MIT’s systems. As a college student and a scientist, I believe that scientific and literary journals should be accessible to all people and not just a select few who can pay for them, which is why I think it was ethical for him as long as it was, in fact, just for the journals to be release for the public to see or for him to use them as a data set to compare the article to the people that they were supporting. This also goes into the original purpose of the internet, which is a mechanism for information dissemination regardless of the location of the person. So to use the internet to keep information for only a select few people is going against the original purpose of the internet. And if everyone had access to the journals that has been published, there would be more advancements in different areas, as reading a journal could spark an idea in someone that could revolutionize the topic. Like the 14 year old, Jack Andraka, that was mention in the video, which use an article to help create a new early test for pancreatic cancer. This is the type of thing that could be happening more often, if the journals and documents were available to the entire population instead of just the few who can afforded to pay for them. Keeping the journals like they are, is only hindering our society’s ability to advance farther into the future and the ability for our society to adapt to the changes around us. These hindrances are hurting the people around us as how many other breakthroughs could come alone by a person looking at a scientific journal and coming up with an idea that can save lives. Another problem that is hindering us, that is also one reason why journals can be kept the way they are, is the copyright and patent system, which is causing a lag in our development. As the system is outdated and was not designed for the society that is around us now. The system seem like it is getting worst, as not to long ago some of the giant companies bought a lot of small companies, just for their patents. The companies then took the patents and filed lawsuit against another company for violating that patent. This stems into greed and how our current system is not the ideal system for progress to be made and something needs to be done to fix the problem as it will not fix itself. As the rich have almost all of the power (according to BBC the richest 1% owns 48% of the world’s wealth) from not only just owning the rights to things, but they also have power in the government as they have a bigger voice in the government than the common people in most aspects. And most of the time these 1%er want to only get richer and show off that wealth by buying million dollar houses and fancy cars. And with them controlling the majority of everything that is around us, it is difficult for the lower class people to get access to the knowledge to help themselves or to help others. Th is is mention in the video with the release of the U.S. federal court documents and then with the journals where you have to pay, and sometime it is a steep price, to get something that most of the time has already been paid for (the journals by federal grants) and that should have been free in the first place. Another thing that deals with the wealthy, is that the wealthy has more leeway when it comes to laws than the common citizen; like the government not going after the big bank after the finance crisis, but instead they wanted to go after Aaron and make him a deterrent to others, but the government did not want to make the big banks a deterrent for having done things that are much worst and on top of that the government give the banks money to help the banks after the finance crisis.
SOPA is another event where you can see how the government actually works, which is that money in the main force behind the law making process. It showed how something can almost get passed into a law without any real expert talking to congress and explaining what the law would mean. But it also shows that if the majority of the population with the help from non-profit organization, can fight against this process and actually win even know no one thought that it was possible to win against something of this nature.
For me the line in between justifiable, ethical hacking and outright cyber-crime lays in whether or not someone could get physically or financially harm from the information that is obtained/released. An example of this would be if the identities of uncover agents, the federal witness protection program had been released, or something along the lines of stealing credit cards. These actions would hurt people behind the identities or credit card numbers, these people would probably be killed or harmed physically in the aspect of the of uncover agents and the people in the federal witness protection program or financially harmed in the aspect of someone’s credit card information being stolen. These things to me would be classified as a crime and should be prosecuted in the justice system. But if you are releasing information that can not cause anyone harm, like scientific journals then that should not be a crime. As that information should have been shared with everyone for f ree anyways, as it can only help out people to find different ways to advance the work that is being done in the original article or it can be used to find errors in your work so you can fix them errors. Which is what science is about.
It is sad to see that even two years after Aaron’s death, the amendment to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is still stalled due to the financial interest of a tech company.
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