A genius, technologically-gifted and a staunch defender of a free internet are just some of the ways to describe Aaron Swartz. “Aaron wanted so badly to change the world”, was how his girlfriend Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman described him. He allegedly committed suicide at the age of 26 due to the pressures of facing charges of illegally downloading millions of academic journals which could have seen him spend an exorbitant 35 years in jail, however much speculation still surrounds his death. Many have argued that he was vindictively pursued by law enforcement agencies and possibly killed due to his ability to spearhead and mobilise peaceful political movements that blocked nefarious government initiatives – he was a prominent figure in the fight against the internet censorship bills: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate counterpart the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Aaron’s father has stated that his son was “killed by the government, and MIT betrayed all of its basic principles”.
Read article in yesterdays Guardian: Aaron Swartz stood up for freedom and fairness – and was hounded to his death (c) Guardian News and Media Ltd