Aaron Swartz hangs himself

swartzFamed Internet activist Aaron Swartz has been found dead in his apartment in New York, says Voice of America.

He says of himself on his blog:

“Working with Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee at MIT, he helped develop and popularize standards for sharing data on the Web.

He also coauthored the RSS 1.0 specification, now widely used for publishing news stories.

“The New York medical examiner said Friday Swartz apparently hanged himself. He had publicly discussed on his blog his struggle with depression, says the VOA, adding.

“Swartz was set to go on trial later this year on federal charges that he stole millions of scholarly articles from JSTOR, an online archive and journal distribution service, in an attempt to make the articles freely available to the public. He faced decades in prison and $1 million in fines, if convicted.

“JSTOR did not press charges against Swartz, once it reclaimed the articles from him.

ortizBut Media reports say US attorney Carmen Ortiz wouldn’t drop the case.

Says MIT’s The Tech, “

 “Computer activist Aaron H. Swartz committed suicide in New York City yesterday, Jan. 11, according to his uncle, Michael Wolf, in a comment to The Tech. Swartz was 26.

“The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” confirmed Swartz’ attorney, Elliot R. Peters of Kecker and Van Nest, in an email to The Tech.

“Swartz was indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly downloading millions of 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 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.

“The accomplished Swartz co-authored the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification at age 14, 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 bills SOPA/PIPA.’

Jon Newton — myblogdammit

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