I was writing about India and Infosys when the news came as a flash on my reader. Of course it isn’t “news” since this happened two days ago already, but it is of importance, because I’m a huge admirer or genuine talent and genius, especially so people oriented as Aaron was.
Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on January 11, 2013.
Official Statement from the family and partner of Aaron Swartz
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.
Aaron’s insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy and capacity for selfless, boundless love; his refusal to accept injustice as inevitable—these gifts made the world, and our lives, far brighter. We’re grateful for our time with him, to those who loved him and stood with him, and to all of those who continue his work for a better world.
Aaron’s commitment to social justice was profound, and defined his life. He was instrumental to the defeat of an Internet censorship bill; he fought for a more democratic, open, and accountable political system; and he helped to create, build, and preserve a dizzying range of scholarly projects that extended the scope and accessibility of human knowledge. He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place. His deeply humane writing touched minds and hearts across generations and continents. He earned the friendship of thousands and the respect and support of millions more.
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.
Today, we grieve for the extraordinary and irreplaceable man that we have lost.
– Aaron is survived by his parents Robert and Susan Swartz, his younger brothers Noah and Ben, and his partner Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman.
Remembrances of Aaron, as well as donations in his memory, can be submitted at Remember Aaron Swartz
Swartz was a computer prodigy who designed his first website at age 13. At 14, he helped the writing of RSS program. He also cofounded the online news site Reddit, where he released as free software the web framework he developed, web.py. Reddit has been sold in 2006 to Wired Digital. The self-educated Swartz was admitted to Stanford as a sociology major, but he left after a year. He is the founder of Demand Progress, which launched the campaign against the Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA) and now has over a million members, and became known as a cyber Robin Hood — providing free Web content to one and all. In 2008, he made twenty million pages of federal court documents available, for free, before the government shut him down. The pages were typically sold for 10 cents apiece.
He was also a Contributing Editor to The Baffler and on the Council of Advisers to The Rules. He has also developed the site theinfo.org. His landmark analysis of Wikipedia, Who Writes Wikipedia?, has been widely cited. Working with Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee at MIT, he helped develop and popularize standards for sharing data on the Web. He also coauthored the RSS 1.0 specification, now widely used for publishing news stories.
In 2010–2011 he was a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.
It’s hard to live when you don’t have the cover Julian Assange has. It’s hard to live in a world where the “free web” has to be controlled and censored by the rule makers, the big internet corporations. They buy out any challenging venue. As Reddit was bought by the owners of Wired, the site who covers Scamworld events and makes a shame of journalism as a trade, so any “open” site with huge manipulating potential, ends to be bought by the rule makers.
A video to remember Aaron Swartz! I shall write more…
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