Reddit Users Ask a Google Employee (Almost) Anything

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Would CISPA Have Slowed The Boston Bomber Investigation?


CISPA,Boston Marathon bombing,suspect,redditInternet users across the globe are standing up and protesting CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, with the same vigor that we (I was one of them) opposed SOPA.

In short form CISPA “”authorizes federal agencies to conduct warrantless searches of information they obtain from e-mail and Internet providers,” an easy to understand definition from CNET’s Declan McCullough.  Government agencies and big business are strongly advocating for the bill to pass into law.  CISPA was approved on Thursday right during the fury of the Boston Bomber investigation, an investigation that many, like Business Insider, suggest would have been slowed, stalled or thwarted with CISPA in place.

After authorities released photos of “Suspect #1” and “Suspect #2” which were revealed to be 26 year old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his 19 year old brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev photos started pouring out across the internet. The FBI, Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police and the ATF had pleaded for anyone in the vicinity of the marathon to turn in their photos.

An anonymous Reddit user found the photo above that shows Martin Richard, the 8 year old killed in the bombing, along with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and what appears to be the backpack that the FBI had been desperately searching for.

It was with the anonymity provided by sites like Reddit, Hacker News and 4Chan that allowed the photo above to be placed on the service, and discussed.

Business Insider’s Geoffrey Ingersoll, sums it up pretty well, the anonymous Reddit users were able to deliver a photo that showed the complete case, killer, murder weapon, victim and scene of the crime all in one shot. “Reddit did the FBI’s job for them:” Ingersoll proclaims in this piece.





Now does anyone think for a second the originator of this photograph had anything to do with the bombing plot? No of course not. They probably just went through all their marathon pics and found they were sitting on a gold mine of evidence. Did they want the authorities disrupting their lives, no? Was the purpose served? Absolutely and it was done anonymously.

There are so many reasons people want to remain anonymous, and it’s not necessarily for evil.  Hiding behind a screen of anonymity has yielded some evil but Ingersoll suggests that the good trumps evil ten fold, citing articles like this one in the Huffington Post about anonymous internet users teaming up to provide communication tools for Egyptian people.

While the authorities in the case of the Boston Marathon bombings operated at whirlwind speed, and were able to get tips quoted at a rate of 300,000 per minute, there was no time to care that most of the tips were anonymous.

So if the anonymous argument isn’t enough, consider this….

Most American’s know their rights and if a law enforcement officer wanted to come into your home and search through your mail, you’re going to want to have a warrant right?



After Battle With Depression Reddit CoFounder Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide


The 26 year old founder of Reddit died yesterday in New York. Aaron Swartz was reportedly dealing with depression which was compounded by a July 2011 indictment for hacking JSTOR.

Swartz, often considered by many as an Internet pioneer, had allegedly set up a laptop in a closet at MIT with the intent to take the pay wall protected JSTOR content and distribute it for free. It’s believed that Swartz’ hack was why JSTOR moved to a more liberal freemium model.

Swartz appeared in court September 24, 2012 where he plead not guilty.

Swartz began his tech career at 14 when he co-authored the RSS 1.0 specification widely used today. He also founded Infogami which eventually merged into Reddit.

“The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” confirmed Swartz’ attorney, Elliot R. Peters of Kecker and Van Nest, in an email to MIT’s The Tech