Category Archives: Legal Troubles


QuickWire: Contractor Says He Hacked Maryland Network to Expose Flaws

A former employee of a University of Maryland contractor has told The Baltimore Sun that he breached the university’s network in an effort to highlight cybersecurity flaws that he said were being ignored.

The employee, David Helkowski, was with a company hired to work on a university website when, he said, he noticed and reported security flaws. When no action was taken to correct them, he said, he took administrators’ information, including President Wallace D. Loh’s Social Security and cellpho…


Harvard U. Committee Proposes Standards for Email Searches

In the wake of a 2013 ruckus that cost a top Harvard University dean her job, a committee appointed by Harvard’s president has recommended that the university adopt institutionwide standards for gaining access to email and other accounts used by students, faculty members, and employees.

“At present, the university lacks a clear, overarching policy in this area,” says the committee’s report. “The absence of a single, visible, and comprehensive policy has led to confusion and uncertainty.”

The com…


MIT Is Still Working on Its Response to Aaron Swartz Case

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is still trying to figure out how to answer criticism of its response to the controversial federal prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the hacker and activist who was arrested on the MIT campus in 2011.

On Thursday university officials charged with reviewing MIT’s existing policies and practices flagged several ways the university could do more to protect digital privacy and encourage open-access publishing, according to an update from MIT’s news office.

But no…


2 Drone-Journalism Programs Seek Federal Approval to Resume Flying

Mizzu drones photo

The U. of Missouri’s Drone Journalism Program, now on hold, hopes to deploy small, unmanned aircraft like these to report on stories such as natural disasters. (U. of Missouri photo)

Two fledgling programs created to teach journalism students how to use drones in their reporting are applying for permits so they can resume operating unmanned aircraft outdoors, their directors said this week. Both programs received cease-and-desist letters from the Federal Aviation Administration last month.

Matt …


Copyright Suit Prompts Counterclaim From Unorthodox Research Library

A copyright lawsuit that several publishers filed in June against a maverick scholar’s online research library has prompted a countersuit raising fair-use arguments—as well as a claim that the publishers are trying to stifle innovation.

The original lawsuit was filed by in federal court in Boston by the Harvard Business School, the University of Chicago, and the publishing company John Wiley & Sons against Michael R. Lissack and the Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence, of which Mr…


JSTOR Releases Documents and Summary of Its Role in Swartz Case

JSTOR, the digital-journal archive, has released all the documents it provided to federal prosecutors relating to the case of Aaron Swartz, the activist and Harvard University researcher.

Mr. Swartz, who committed suicide in January, faced criminal charges after downloading 4.8 million scholarly articles from JSTOR in 2010 in defiance of the archive’s terms of service. He used a laptop hidden in a wiring closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Although JSTOR did not pursue legal act…


Edwin Mellen Press Threatens to Sue Society for Scholarly Publishing

The Society for Scholarly Publishing has removed two blog posts about a legal battle between a scholarly publisher and a librarian after a lawyer representing the publisher threatened to sue the society.

The posts were written by Rick Anderson, a librarian at the University of Utah, for The Scholarly Kitchen, a blog published by the society, which is a nonprofit organization of publishers, printers, librarians, and editors. In the posts, Mr. Anderson discussed a lawsuit filed by Edwin Mellen Pre…


MIT to Release Documents on Aaron Swartz Prosecution, but With Redactions

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced on Tuesday that it would voluntarily release documents related to the prosecution of the open-access activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January. In a letter to the MIT community, L. Rafael Reif, the university’s president, explained that the decision was in response to a motion, filed by Mr. Swartz’s estate in federal court in Boston, that demands the release of any public information concerning the case.

“At MIT we believe in op…


Harvard’s Search of Staff E-Mail Sparks Questions About Policies Nationwide

Photo by Daniel Loiselle

Harvard University (Photo by Daniel Loiselle)

The revelation that Harvard University secretly looked at the e-mail inboxes of 16 resident deans in the wake of last year’s cheating scandal has led to outrage among some of its professors, with prominent faculty members taking to the Internet to vent their frustrations.

But what expectations of privacy should university employees have when it comes to their work e-mail accounts?

From a strictly legal standpoint, employees generally do not have a ri…


Free-Textbook Company Rewrites Its Content Following Publishers’ Lawsuit

A free-textbook company that was sued last year by three major textbook publishers has now rewritten the content it was accused of stealing.

Pearson, Cengage Learning, and Macmillan Higher Education filed a joint complaint in March 2012 against the company, known as Boundless. The publishers asserted that the way Boundless creates its textbooks violates their copyrights. In a process called “alignment,” students select the traditional text they need, and Boundless pulls together open content…