MIT’s Kendall Square bookstore may be the first campus retail store to accept Bitcoins as a form of payment. Jerry Murphy, president of the The Harvard Cooperative Society, the corporate branch that manages the MIT COOP and the Harvard COOP in Harvard Square:
In the college industry, to my knowledge, I believe we are…Part of our decision to do this was based on the fact that we have had a Bitcoin exchange in our store for six months now. MIT has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of a lot of things, and the student body has an interest in Bitcoin. All these factors came together and we said, ‘let’s give it a shot and see if it makes sense.
Hackers from Anonymous on Sunday claimed credit for posting messages to MIT web sites commemorating the life of RSS co-founder Aaron Swartz and calling for an overhaul of computer crime laws. The group called for an overhaul of intellectual property and computer crime laws and that Swartz’s death should be a rallying point for Internet freedom advocates.
We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered Internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all.
In an update to the messages, which have since been taken down, the group said it does not blame MIT for Swartz’s death and apologized for using its sites as a stage for its messages.
MIT President Rafael Reif writes a letter to students, alumni and other members of the school’s community to say that it would look into the role MIT played in Swartz’s case.
I want to express very clearly that I and all of us at MIT are extremely saddened by the death of this promising young man who touched the lives of so many. It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy.
Reif said he’s asked Hal Abelson, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, and a founding director of Creative Commons and the Free Software Foundation, to lead the investigation into MIT’s actions
After investigators at MIT began to suspect that someone is illegally downloading material from the JSTOR archive they trace the leak to a basement wiring closet where they find a laptop and external hard drive hooked up directly to a network. The laptop and the hard drive are hidden from view by a cardboard box. Secret Service Agent Michael places a surveillance camera in the closet. The surveillance images show Swartz entering the closet three days in a row. Using his white bicylce helmet as a mask, Swartz attempts to cover his face from the cameras as he tries to retrieve the computer equipment that he left their weeks before. On January 6th an officer sees Swartz attempt to leave MIT property with the laptop and hard drive. At 2:11 p.m. Swartz is ID’d on a bicycle on Massachusetts Avenue by an MIT police officer, according to his own report. That report states that when he encounters Captain Albert Pierce of the MIT Police Department, Swartz jumps off his bike and runs down Lee Street. He runs approximately 400 feet before being handcuffed and charged with breaking and entering.