Aaron Swartz ran facefirst into a law-enforcement and prosecutorial culture that we have allowed to run amok for far too long. It began with drugs. It intensified with the “war on terror.” Preventive detention — though they don’t call it that — has been mainstreamed, due process sacrificed to efficiency. Investigation without cause has been normalized in our daily lives, through mandatory drug testing and roadblocks and a dozen other ways we barely think about any more. Personal privacy has been rendered less important than official secrecy in the general scheme of things. We want — nay, demand convictions, and all barriers to them be damned.
Charlie Pierce, in Esquire.