Hangs himself after allegedly being pressurized by the US government.
Aaron Swartz, 26, committed suicide by hanging himself in his Brooklyn apartment. Swartz is considered to be one of the co-founders of Reddit, and also co-authored the RSS 1.0 specification. Swartz is described by his family as “creative and brilliant” with a “capacity for selfless, boundless love”.
Unfortunately, his death is shrouded in bitter controversy. Allegations are laid against the US government of harassing and pressurizing Swartz after he allegedly mass downloaded over 4 million academic documents from JSTOR and distributed them over Bittorrent.
His family states, “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.”
Aaron Swartz is survived by his parents and two younger brothers.