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Reddit Co-founder, Aaron Swartz, 26, Found Dead

"Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. I think a lot of what people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity." - Aaron Swartz, hactivist & open-source advocate, RIP

Image by Elizabeth Brossa via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

Such sad and heartbreaking news today. My condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed greatly by many people across the country/world. ~ DS

NewsyTech·Jan 12, 2013

Swartz dedicated his life to sharing data and information online, developing standards for the free and open sharing of information. He was 26.

***

Reddit Co-founder, Aaron Swartz, 26, Found Dead

zBitsnBytes·Jan 12, 2013

Aaron Swartz, 26, co-founder of Reddit, Found Dead.

Aaron Swartz, was found dead in his Brooklyn, New York apartment of an apparent suicide.

A statement from his family reads, “”Our beloved brother, son, friend, and partner Aaron Swartz hanged himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment. We are in shock, and have not yet come to terms with his passing.”

Swartz was accused of computer fraud, and court procedures were scheduled to begin next month. Federal Prosecutors alleged Swartz illegally downloaded millions of scientific journals from JSTOR, an online archive within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology network. Swartz pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the family statement, his family blamed the prosecution for playing a role in his suicide. “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach, decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.”

When Swartz was 14 years old, he helped create RSS software, revolutionizing the way people subscribed to and consumed information online. Here, in this video, Aaron Swartz was interviewed for “Steal This Movie” and expressed his views on internet downloads.

Aaron Swartz, Dead at 26, R.I.P.

***

Updated

Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz commits suicide in midst of controversial trial

RussiaToday·Jan 13, 2013

The family of internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz has blamed the U.S. criminal justice system for his death – READ MORE http://on.rt.com/qgqc02

The 26-year-old co-founder of social news website Reddit hanged himself in his New York apartment on Friday. Swartz faced 13 felony charges connected with hacking the network of MIT University and downloading academic papers online. He could have spent decades in prison for charges he pleaded not guilty to. And a representative of the Pirate group from the Berlin parliament, Fabio Reinhardt, says that just isn’t fair.

***

See also:

Aaron Swartz: Is it time for an Internet Bill of Rights? + The Best Way to Honor Aaron Swartz

The inspiring heroism of Aaron Swartz by Glenn Greenwald

A Tribute to Aaron Swartz by Tangerine Bolen

Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013: a computer hacker who is now a political martyr By Virginia Heffernan

***

Petitions:

Posthumously pardon Aaron Swartz

Remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz

from the archives:

TrapWire: American cities under total surveillance?

New CISPA in the Senate ready for a vote + Action Alert: Support Privacy Amendments To Cyber-Security Bill

Obama Accelerated Cyberwar With Iran

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6 Responses

  1. It is numbing to think of the potential lost by Aaron’s passing. The good die young and of course there is the lingering suspicion of the pattern in losing such significant forces for good in these dark times.

  2. What a brilliant guy, what a tragic loss ~ what a terrible indictment of our litigious and paranoid society…some people it seems, especially those both greedy for, and fearful of authority, just do not care; or rather ~ do not know how to care; as we can only learn to care, from and through care.
    Carefulness, literally speaking, is not a vice, and if you’ve never known it, how can you recognise what it is?

  3. I owe so much to this young man. I can’t even think how I could manage Dandelion Salad without RSS feeds and Creative Commons licenses and of course, a free and open Internet. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

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