Harvard ethics fellow hacks into MIT network

Boston: A former Harvard University fellow studying ethics has been charged with hacking into the computer network at Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) to steal more than five million academic articles.

Aaron Swartz, 24, was indicted on six counts including wire fraud and faces up to 35 years in prison and a million dollar fine if convicted.

According to a federal indictment, Swartz downloaded more than 4.8 million articles from JSTOR, a subscription service that offers digitised copies of articles from more than 1000 academic journals.

Swartz allegedly hacked into MIT`s system between September and January this year. He allegedly broke into a closet in the basement of an MIT building to plug into the university`s network through a computer switch. He intended to distribute the articles on file-sharing websites.

Swartz was not affiliated with MIT, according to prosecutors.Swartz was released on USD 1,00,000 unsecured bond after pleading not guilty at his arraignment here.

"Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars," US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a release.

"It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away," he said.