Thursday, February 14, 2013

Noshir Gowadia vs Aaron Swartz

Compare the following two cases.

Noshir Gowadia was a design engineer for the B-2, an important component of American intercontinental nuclear capability and hands-down the most advanced strategic bomber ever built. He was convicted of 14 of 17 charges brought against him after selling classified information to China, Germany, Israel, and Switzerland. He helped the Chinese develop a cruise missile designed to beat our existing countermeasures, and used the money to pay for a mortgage on his house in Maui. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Aaron Swartz was a critic of US copyright law and outspoken opponent of SOPA who bypassed a paywall to download and freely distribute academic research papers. These papers are typically funded by NSF grants (tax dollars) but the papers themselves are not normally available without a subscription to JSTOR, an academic library database. He was not selling nuclear secrets to the Chinese. He wasn't making money on this at all. He was being threatened with 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he committed suicide.

This is what injustice looks like.

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