Two years ago today we lost one of the most creative minds of our generation. Aaron Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was a computer programmer who co-founded Reddit, worked on the development of the web feed process RSS, founded numerous political activists groups and played a vital role in the campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) a bill that would have posed a serious threat for all of us who use the internet.
Aaron was brutally targeted by the U.S government for merely trying to bring public access to the public domain.
- His crime: downloading too many scholarly articles from J-Store and MIT in order to freely distribute them on the Internet for all to access.
- His punishment: faced federal charges including computer intrusion, wire fraud, and data theft, which could have led to a sentence of 35 years in prison and a $1 million dollar fine.
After battling these charges and exhausting all his funds, the pressure just became too much for Aaron and he was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment at the age of 26 on January 11th, 2013. The documentary below can be found for free on YouTube. I have been a huge fan of Aaron Swartz and it saddens me to know how much more he could have done with his life if he wasn’t so aggressively attacked by the federal government. He was really the Internets own boy~ RIP Aaron- you will not be forgotten.