Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 12th Jan 2013 20:25 UTC
In the News "Computer activist Aaron H. Swartz committed suicide in New York City yesterday, Jan. 11, according to his uncle, Michael Wolf, in a comment to The Tech. Swartz was 26." Swartz was one of three co-creators of Reddit, worked on the RSS 1.0 specification at age 14, and so many other things. Swartz faced decades in prison for downloading a collection of JSTOR scientific articles. JSTOR dropped charges, but the US government pursued the case anyway, demanding fifty years in jail. Lawrence Lessig, one of his close friends: "Aaron had literally done nothing in his life 'to make money'. He was fortunate Reddit turned out as it did, but from his work building the RSS standard, to his work architecting Creative Commons, to his work liberating public records, to his work building a free public library, to his work supporting Change Congress/FixCongressFirst/Rootstrikers, and then Demand Progress, Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don't get both, you don't deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you." Our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We've just lost one of the good guys.
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UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

I don't think anyone here ever said that the U.S. Government strapped him to an electric chair, gassed him to death, sent a firing squad in or gave him a lethal injection.

What they did do was trample all over his already frail emotions and used its judgment to crush him to the maximum extent that the law will allow, as is typical of the U.S. Federal Government.

You should also know that at the time of his death Aaron was being prosecuted by the federal government and threatened with up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines for the crime of — and I’m not exaggerating here — downloading too many free articles from the online database of scholarly work JSTOR. Aaron had allegedly used a simple computer script to use MIT’s network to massively download academic articles from the database that he himself had legitimate access to, almost 5 million in all, with the intent, prosecutors alleged, of making them freely available. You should know that despite JSTOR declining to press charges or pursue prosecution, federal prosecutors dropped a staggering 13 count felony indictment on Aaron for his alleged actions.

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/01/13/the-brilliant-mind-righteous-heart-o...

Edited 2013-01-15 03:30 UTC

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