Aaron Swartz, Reddit Co-founder found dead, suicide claimed by mainstream media
It is claimed that on today, 12th January 2013, The 26 year old co-founder of Reddit has been found dead and that it appears to be due to suicide.
Harsh legislation such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is one possible cause as Aaron had been charged under the act and was going through a trial. If found guilty he could have faced several years in prison as well as a $1 Million fine. With governments making up their tax “shortfalls” from successful corporations and banks – this was clearly a real threat in the event that the legal system had turned against Aaron.
It is believed that Swartz may have caved in under pressure and possible fear of conviction after In 2011, he was charged with allegedly stealing more than four million JSTOR academic journals from the open connection at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There are those who belief that the entire saga was unfounded because MIT allows guests access to JSTOR – and Swartz as undertaking a fellowship at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics at the time of downloading, practically accessing data as a guest rather than a hacker.
Whilst this is not exactly a Bradley Manning situation – the question will always remain: Was the legal system to harsh for Swartz, and was there a fear that the establishments, such as the judiciary and the university, would be too hard to overcome?
The US and the world has lost one of the greatest innovators of all time – and Swartz, besides what may have occurred at MIT, has made a significant contribution to internet users around the world.