The Electronic Frontier Foundation is representing the students in an effort to resist complying with the subpoena. As Wired points out, there are parallels between this situation and Aaron Swartz’s. After being arrested by MIT police, Swartz faced charges for computer fraud and abuse because he downloaded millions of journal articles from the database JSTOR; he later committed suicide.*

Currently no criminal charges have been brought against Rubin or the others, but the subpoena seems to be part of a trend to aggressively use state law in investigating Internet experimentation. EFF attorney Hanni Fakhoury told Wired, “It’s a very broad subpoena that hints at criminal liability and civil liability. … For a bunch of college kids who put something together for a hackathon—they didn’t make any money, the project never got off the ground and now is completely disbanded—there are some very serious implications.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Slate