This is a good point. But I also think that MIT now realizes it lives in a world where information isn't just given out to sane people, but people who are unbalanced and angry.
This is one of the things that we see when it comes to big corporations doing terrible things, they work hard to hide the people who make decisions that take people homes or they make it clear that some low level employee did it. They purposely defuse responsibility because people take losing their house personally.
Some companies have changed the law to make formerly illegal acts legal, so their employees can say, "We were just following the law."
The MIT people behind this action clearly wanted to "send a message" to people that these kind of actions will not be tolerated, and they never thought that there would be blowback for their actions. Once it looked like some of the blowback would go to individuals at MIT (vs. the nameless institution) they worked to block access of that information.
MIT will use the "safety of the individual" as the reason, but it is also to protect the institution and defuse responsibility. Also, for all we know the people who were doing the actual pushing represented a committee that told him to "send a message" to "hackers." Just because I'm carrying out my bosses orders doesn't mean I agree with them, but if my signature is on the foreclosure notice that makes me the focus of someone's rage.
After Redditt took it upon themselves to find the Boston Bomber and got it wrong, I worry about the unleashing of data to everyone.
What I think should happen is that MIT needs to "send a message" back to the people that the people who pushed for these horrible penalties are not just getting off scott free. That policies have changed, people have been reprimanded. Some might not think that is good enough, but it is a start..