In June of 2010 there was an AT&T webserver on the open Internet. There was an API on this server, a URL with a number at the end. If you incremented this number, you saw the next iPad 3G user email address. I thought it was egregiously negligent for AT&T to be publishing a complete target list of iPad 3G owners, and I took a sample of the API output to a journalist at Gawker.
I did this because I despised people I think are unjustly wealthy and wanted to embarass them. I thought this is the United States of America where we have the right to do basic arithmetic and query public webservers.
I was convicted of two consecutive five-year felonies, and am now awaiting sentencing.
I left the Aaron Swartz memorial tonight emotionally exhausted. Here is a guy who was beloved by many of my close friends, whose suffering and miseries I have shared in kind. I’ll never forget when the Secret Service started following me. My lover at the time and I treated it like a game, spending our days ditching surveillance in the best ways possible: speedboats, helicopters, club bouncers.
Over time, this has become less and less of a game. It soon became clear that I could not be both an activist and a capitalist. I quit my six figure job at the time because the former was more important to me. Then one day, everything changed. FBI agents tried to frame me for terrorism in 2008. Twice. They ruined my career, my relationship, my life. Nobody believed that I could be a terrorist so now they try to libel me as an identity thief.