Aaron Swartz ……

aaron swartz

Aaron Swartz has died of suicide at age 26.
Aaron’s achievements during his short life
were staggering. At the age of 14, he
co-developed RSS, the Really Simple
Syndication web protocol that is the key
component of much of the web’s entire
publishing infrastructure.

By 19, he’d co-founded a company that
would merge with Reddit, a user-generated
social news site that is now one of the most
highly-trafficked news sites in the world. He
founded Demand Progress, which was
instrumental in fights to keep the Internet
open and free, and in the battle to defeat
SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.

He developed the architecture for the Creative
Commons licensing system and in 2010 he
was made a fellow at Harvard’s Safra Center
for Ethics.

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 – no
exaggeration – downloading too many *free*
articles from the online database of scholarly
work, JSTOR.org

He’d used his hacking skills to download these
files more quickly and despite JSTOR’s declining
to press charges or pursue prosecution, federal
prosecutors hit Aaron with a staggering 13-count
felony indictment.

In a statement about his death, Aaron’s family
and partner wrote:

“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.”

His death is a good reason to revisit the 1986
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the law under
which he was prosecuted, since it is far too broad.
It is also a good idea to take a hard look at
Massachusetts Federal Attorney, Carmen Ortiz,
whose office prosecuted Aaron with such
recklessly disproportionate vigor, and who is
reportedly considering a run for governor.

It is hard to fathom what Aaron may have
continued to contribute to society had he not
been bullied to death by the US Government.


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Wonder, silence, gratitude

one who is going upstream ......

SS24 - in search of the bull !

one who is going upstream ......

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