Nearly two years before the U.S. government’s first known inquiry into the activities of Reddit co-founder and famed digital activist Aaron Swartz, the FBI swept up his email data in a counterterrorism investigation that also ensnared students at an American university, according to a once-secret document first published by Gizmodo. The email data belonging to Swartz, who was likely not the target of the counterterrorism investigation, was cataloged by the FBI and accessed more than a year later as it weighed potential charges against him for something wholly unrelated. The legal practice of storing data on Americans who are not suspected of crimes, so that it may be used against them later on, has long been denounced by civil liberties experts, who’ve called on courts and lawmakers to curtail the FBI’s “radically” expansive search procedures. In November 2008, days before Swartz’s 22nd birthday, FBI investigators were combing the internet for any information they could find on the young man fated to become one of the internet’s most celebrated figures. At the time, the bureau was working to determine whether Swartz had violated any laws when he downloaded millions of court documents from an online system known as PACER. The FBI… Read full this story
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