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What does that have to do with it?

What does that have to do with it?

Posted Jul 31, 2013 15:19 UTC (Wed) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198)
In reply to: What does that have to do with it? by dakas
Parent article: MIT's report on the Aaron Swartz case

> If anybody has a responsibility to think about the consequences of their acts, it is the purported smartest and brightest.

This is a fantastic statement, and the critical point from which all responsibility derives. The ability to predict the consequences of ones actions creates the requirement to do so because it creates the responsibility for the foreseeable outcomes of those actions. The real difficulty with responsibility is in assessing the ability for one to predict the consequences of their actions and whether they were foreseeable at the time when the assessor has the benefit of perfect hindsight. In the case of MIT the additional intelligence creates additional responsibility and diminishes the protection of an unpredictable consequence.

Is anyone arguing that MIT staff knew or should have known that by allowing the harassment of Aaron Schwartz that his life was in danger? Or is it that by allowing the harassment they created a dangerous and unpredictable situation where any number of bad things could happen?


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What does that have to do with it?

Posted Jul 31, 2013 19:22 UTC (Wed) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

As has been pointed out on Groklaw, Aaron was charged with "unauthorised access".

At NO POINT WHATSOEVER does there appear to have been any attempt by either MIT or the prosecutor to find out whether Aaron was or was not authorised.

And given that MIT seems to have had an "access is open to anyone" policy, it seems highly likely that Aaron's access was not unuauthorised (note the careful use of the double negative, and not the positive).

This is the gaping hole the prosecutors drove through to charge him.

Cheers,
Wol

What does that have to do with it?

Posted Aug 1, 2013 21:22 UTC (Thu) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164) [Link]

I don't think they had to predict he might kill himself to know that himb being prosecuted was bad and that them stopping that would be good... There ain't much more to morality than 'good' and 'bad', so that was all they needed to realize and act on.

If an action makes the world a better place, you're morally obliged to do it to the extend it makes the world better. And if an action makes the world a worse place, you're morally obliged to refrain from it to the extend it makes things worse...

And for what makes the world worse or better, I really like the 'veil of ignorance' by Rawls as a measure of what is good or bad. That and the valleys and peaks of the moral landscape from Sam Harris.


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