Aaron Swartz, an American computer programmer as well as an internet activist, has killed himself on January 11, 2013. As a teenage boy, he showed his talents helping develop code which later became to make the ever-changing information freely available (Schwartz, 2013). Later, he founded a company which merged with Reddit, a social news site. Also, as an internet activist, he promoted online campaigns on social justice issues which includes a successful effort of opposing a Hollywood-backed Internet piracy bill (Schwartz, 2013).
But, in other aspect, he seemed to be troublesome in that he tried to release information to public maintaining that the public should be free to access to the certain information which he believed that should be revealed. In 2008, he took on Public Access to Court Electronic Records, the repository for federal judicial documents and three years later, he also broke into computer networks at M.I.T (Schwartz, 2013).
After Swartz died, the public insists that there might be a possibility that M.I.T led Swartz mentally ill. However, M.I.T reported that “MIT did not ‘target’ Aaron Swartz, it did not seek federal prosecution, punishment or jail time, and it did not oppose a plea bargain” (Boyette, 2013). However, others including the family and romantic partner of Swartz disagreed insisting that M.I.T played a significant role in Aaron’s suicide by not being neutral in the legal case against him (Boyette, 2013).
Regarding this issue, United States Attorney declared that Swartz is a “theft” who steals information and be harmful to the victims (Gosztola, 2013). Moreover, the government expanded his charges from four to thirteen felonies, which seems that it led the aggressive prosecution and finally pushed Swartz toward death (Gosztola, 2013).
Boyette, C. (July 31, 2013). MIT report: We did not ‘target’ Aaron Swartz. Cable News Network (CNN). Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/30/tech/web/mit-report-swartz/
Gosztola, K. (January 14, 2013). How the Government’s Prosecustion of Aaron Swartz Pushed Him Toward Death. Firedoglake.com. Retrieved from http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/01/14/how-the-governments-prosecution-of-aaron-swartz-pushed-him-toward-death/
Schwartz, J. (January 12, 2013). Internet Activist, a Creator of RSS, Is Dead at 26, Apparently a Suicide. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/technology/aaron-swartz-internet-activist-dies-at-26.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0