Reddit Founder Aaron Swartz found dead at 26 (OT)


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 12, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
Incredible - facing $1million dollar fines and 35 years in prison for some internet mumbo jumbo I could never understand he was found by his girlfriend. One of the biggest internet activists out there, a real shame...

From the article:

But he also found trouble when he took part in efforts to release information to the public that he felt should be freely available. In 2008, he took on PACER, or Public Access to Court Electronic Records, the repository for federal judicial documents.

The database charges 10 cents a page for documents; activists like Carl Malamud, the founder of, have long argued that such documents should be free because they are produced at public expense. Joining Mr. Malamud’s efforts to make the documents public by posting legally obtained files to the Internet for free access, Mr. Swartz wrote an elegant little program to download 20 million pages of documents from free library accounts, or roughly 20 percent of the enormous database.

The government abruptly shut down the free library program, and Mr. Malamud feared that legal trouble might follow even though he felt they had violated no laws. As he recalled in a newspaper account of the events, “I immediately saw the potential for overreaction by the courts.” He recalled telling Mr. Swartz: “You need to talk to a lawyer. I need to talk to a lawyer.”

Mr. Swartz recalled in a 2009 interview, “I had this vision of the feds crashing down the door, taking everything away.” He said he locked the deadbolt on his door, lay down on the bed for a while and then called his mother.

A classic Robbin Hood character, one I think contemporaries will shun but future generations will make into T-shirts : /

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Jan 12, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
Makes one wonder if he was whacked.

Trad climber
San Diego
Jan 12, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
He publicly talked about his struggle with depression. Its funny how people immediately turn to conspiracy theories. Supertopo especially.
shit tooth

Trad climber
Oklahoma City, OK
Jan 12, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
RIP. I find reddit to be one of the most powerful forms of website communities and general awareness. Sure theres a lot of dumb memes, but, they were instrumental in fighting SOPA and various other internet restrictions!

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Jan 12, 2013 - 10:19pm PT
Waiting to hear more ...


Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Jan 12, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
Its funny how people immediately turn to conspiracy theories. Supertopo especially.

Easy cowboy, I was not suggesting any conspiracy . . . just seems curious.

Poor kid.

Sport climber
Jan 12, 2013 - 10:53pm PT
It is sad to hear. Ive known a few people who have been seriously depressed and its not a "Hey snap out of it thing". Just remember to listen when someone says they are depressed. Nothing wrong with suggesting they seek help.
Have you seen that documentary called The Bridge? Pretty emotionally touching. Sorry for the family.

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Jan 12, 2013 - 10:56pm PT
patient and inquiring minds are good

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 12, 2013 - 11:31pm PT

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 13, 2013 - 12:44am PT
I was saddened to hear this today. The world lost not only a brilliant young programmer, but by all accounts, a fine human as well.

Larry Lessig posted his thoughts:

John M

Jan 13, 2013 - 12:59am PT
Thanks froodish for posting that. that was powerful.

Social climber
Jan 13, 2013 - 01:13am PT
Great link, TGT - thanks for that. I had no idea...

Gym climber
South of Heaven
Jan 14, 2013 - 03:42pm PT

climber's near nevada...
Jan 14, 2013 - 04:21pm PT
^^because sharing information is probably the greatest single threat to the status quo and the path we are on...

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 14, 2013 - 04:24pm PT
Statement from Aaron's family and partner along with lots of rememberances here:


Social climber
Jan 14, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
From the family's obit from the link above :

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.

I think it's important to remember Swartz was bullied heavily by gov't for the freedom of information and access to information that he was pursuing.

It's so very sad that his voice has been silenced. He had a lot of guts to pursue some large and heavy targets knowing - possibly - that his own health might be at risk.

R I P Aaron Swartz

Trad climber
Jan 14, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
Great link, TGT. Powerful story...thank you for posting it up.

Incredibly heartbreaking that such a bright beacon chose to extinguish his own light.


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jan 14, 2013 - 10:21pm PT

Amy Goodman devoted the entire DemocracyNow show to Aaron
today. . .
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jan 14, 2013 - 11:46pm PT
What a waste to the planet. A human life that could have perhaps given us knowledge and blessed us is now gone.

Everyone needs support and grace and love and kindness. It sounds like this person jerked the chains of those marching to the step.

In each of our lives we run into people that are struggling. Yo, at any given time each of us have a challenge working out our own lives. What if this Dude was at the grocery store giving signs of sadness? What if he said a "coded" help to someone who was just to busy to take time to listen and encourage?

To me this is a heads up to be aware of each and every human around me and see if a smile, a pat on the shoulder or an encouraging word could make them live just one more day. RIP young Aaron Swartz. I wish you were still alive. I wish I could have met you and spoken with you.

Peace, lynne
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jan 14, 2013 - 11:54pm PT
At times it seems a cadre of the bright, gifted, yet by official standards "just too unusual" are pursued by a mainstream that for what ever reason feels threatened by these people. People like Aaron Swartz are pursued and in the process destroyed. What they had to contribute in their lifetime lost forever. If it's not understood, if it threatens, it must be done away with.
I think of Galileo.

Instead of scrutiny and negative pursuit, how about about studying the new actions and ideas, embracing the creators in a neutral and non threatening way, learning more about their creativity and hopefully using it to make this world and all it contains a better place for everyone.

Edit: Wrote this first and thought I accidentally deleted it but it was recovered. Feel strongly about this Thread so posting this too. My heart and love goes out to this man's family. Condolances, lynne
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