Here is what he really did http://unhandled.com...on-swartzs-crime/ , according to the forensic analyst who was to be his expert witness in his trial:
Aaron did not ÂhackÂ the JSTOR website for all reasonable definitions of ÂhackÂ. Aaron wrote a handful of basic python scripts that first discovered the URLs of journal articles and then used curl to request them. Aaron did not use parameter tampering, break a CAPTCHA, or do anything more complicated than call a basic command line tool that downloads a file in the same manner as right-clicking and choosing ÂSave AsÂ from your favorite browser.
Aaron did nothing to cover his tracks or hide his activity, as evidenced by his very verbose .bash_history, his uncleared browser history and lack of any encryption of the laptop he used to download these files. Changing oneÂs MAC address (which the government inaccurately identified as equivalent to a carÂs VIN number) or putting a mailinator email address into a captured portal are not crimes. If they were, you could arrest half of the people who have ever used airport wifi.