Aaron Swartz | Reddit Co-Founder and JSTOR Hacker Commits Sucide

Namaste! Good Morning,

Aaron Swartz, 26, an Internet activist, co-founder of a social news website Reddit , killed himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment New York.

"We are deeply saddened to hear the news about Aaron Swartz," JSTOR says.

 He was pronounced dead on Saturday at his home in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood, said Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for New York's chief medical examiner.

Swartz co-authored the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification at age 14. He founded Infogami which later merged with the popular social news site reddit, and completed a fellowship at Harvard's Ethics Center lab on Institutional Corruption. In 2010, he founded DEMANDPROGRESS.ORG A "campaign against the Internet censorship bill SOPA/PIPA."

Swartz was indicted in July 2011 by federal grand jury for allegedly downloading around 4.8 million documents from JSTOR through the MIT network, using a laptop hidden in a basement network closet in MIT's Building 16, with the intent to distribute them. Swartz subsequently moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he then worked for Avaaz (Voice) Foundation, a nonprofit "global web movement to bring people- powered politics to decision-making everywhere." Swartz appeared in court on Sept. 24, 2012 and pleaded not guilty..

In September 2012, he returned to court to plead not guilty to charges of wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. (He was facing 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.)

The family of Swartz, along with his partner, Taren Stinebricker-Kaufmann, released a statement about his death and announced plans for the funeral on Tuesday, January 15 at Central Avenue Synagogue, 874 Central Avenue, Highland Park, Illinois 60035. In the statement the family blamed MIT and federal prosecutor, who pressed criminal hacking charges which carried a potential charges.

"Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy,"  they wrote "It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecution overreach." Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attoreney's office and at MIT contributed to his death."

Swartz's friend Larry Lessig, the Hardward University professor and well-known authority on Internet law, who called the government prosecutor in the case a "bully" and said that Swartz had been "driven to the edge" by the government's aggressive handling of the legal case.

Aaron Swartz keynote - "How we stopped SOPA" at F2C:Freedom to Connect 2012, Washington DC on May 21 2012.

Further details, including the specific time, will be posted at http://rememberaaronsw.com, along with announcements about memorial services to be held in other cities in coming weeks.

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