In memory of Aaron Swartz
We just reported on the tragic death of Aaron Swartz, who took his life at the age of 26. Swartz co-created RSS when he was fourteen, and founded a company that eventually merged with Reddit.
Recently, Swartz was under fire for downloading 4.8 million articles from JSTOR, an MIT research service, and was facing many years in prison, as well as a hefty fine.
The messages have since been taken down, but according to the Washington Post, one of them read, in part, "We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered Internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all."
A blogger from the Philippines wrote, "Aaron, your passing leaves the world less free. As your legacy lives in us, may we unlock the world to the realities that not all of those who access the net are rich and capable and powerful, many are poor who need the same information and accessibility. You will be remembered!"
Another blogger wrote "I, like many, had heard of Aaron, admired his achievements and bemoaned his bullying by the powers that be. On behalf of every free thinking person thank you for your courage, insight, passion and progressive thinking. We understand the things you have done to protect the semblance of freedom we enjoy today.
"And I will also say thank you on behalf of all the thoughtless lemmings, and evil-doers who have also benefited from your accomplishments but don’t even have the capacity to understand or appreciate everything you have done. You paid with you life. The ultimate sacrifice. Thank you is not enough."
And maybe the New York Times summed it up best when the paper headlined its report, "Aaron Swartz, a Data Crusader and Now, a Cause."
Note: Aaron’s funeral will be held at 10am on Tuesday, January 15 at Central Avenue Synagogue, 874 Central Avenue, Highland Park, Illinois 60035.