Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Heymann's overzealous prosecution of an allegedly minor and non-violent electronic crime led to the suicide of Aaron Swartz. President Obama recently said, as repeated by Vice President Biden, "if our actions result in saving only one life, they're worth taking." We should not destroy the lives of human beings for crimes against computer systems that harm no one and provide no benefit to the perpetrator. Such actions should be treated as forms of protest and civil disobedience. To prosecute these actions the same as rapes and murders is a savage abuse of the criminal justice system which continues to destroy the lives of peaceful, productive members of society.
Fire Attorney Steve Heymann before his reckless prosecutions claim any more lives.
Response to Petition
Aaron Swartz's death was a tragic, unthinkable loss for his family and friends. Our sympathy continues to go out to those who were closest to him, and to the many others whose lives he touched.
We also reaffirm our belief that a spirit of openness is what makes the Internet such a powerful engine for economic growth, technological innovation, and new ideas. That's why members of the Administration continue to engage with advocates to ensure the Internet remains a free and open platform as technology continues to disrupt industries and connect our communities in ways we can't yet imagine. We will continue this engagement as we tackle new questions on key issues such as citizen participation in democracy, open access to information, privacy, intellectual property, free speech, and security.
As to the specific personnel-related requests raised in your petitions, our response must be limited. Consistent with the terms we laid out when we began We the People, we will not address agency personnel matters in a petition response, because we do not believe this is the appropriate forum in which to do so.