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Online activist Aaron Swartz commits suicide, relative says

New York (CNN) -- Aaron Swartz, the Internet political activist who co-wrote the initial specification for RSS, has committed suicide, a relative told CNN Saturday. He was 26. "Great minds carry heavy burdens," wrote one user on Reddit, a popular social media website that Swartz helped develop and popularize following a merger in 2006. Swartz also co-founded Demand Progress, a political action group that campaigns against Internet censorship. A young prodigy, his passion pushed limits and landed him in legal troubles in recent years. In 2011, he was arrested in Boston for alleged computer fraud and illegally obtaining documents from protected computers. He was later indicted from an incident in which he allegedly stole millions of online documents from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He pleaded not guilty in September, according to MIT's "The Tech" newspaper. Two years earlier, the FBI investigated him after he released millions of U.S. federal court documents online. No charges were filed in that case. Swartz, who completed a fellowship at Harvard's Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption, frequently blogged about his life, success and personal struggles. In some instances, he wrote about death. "There is a moment, immediately before life becomes no longer worth living, when the world appears to slow down and all its myriad details suddenly become brightly, achingly apparent," he wrote in a 2007 post entitled "A Moment Before Dying."

by Anonymousreply 9901/20/2013

He was also one of those "I'm not gay, I just happen to have sex with men sometimes" people.

by Anonymousreply 101/12/2013

After reading the post linked to by R1, it's obvious that he had some serious issues. Was probably depressed because he couldn't accept the fact that he was gay or bisexual ("Sure, I like to have sex with men, but don't lump me in with those weird gay people.")

by Anonymousreply 401/12/2013

[quote]An untitled criminal cunt


by Anonymousreply 501/12/2013

[quote]An untitled criminal cunt

People without titles are the [italic]worst[/italic].

by Anonymousreply 601/12/2013

[post by racist shit-stain # 2 removed.]

by Anonymousreply 801/12/2013

This reeks of suspicious interference.

Murder made to look like suicide.

by Anonymousreply 1101/12/2013

Poor thing seems to have had a whole potpurri of issues, any of them could have pushed him over the edge.

The court case (I'm sure he knew there was no way he would have made it if he'd gone to jail), the "I'm not gay I'm unlabelable" thing (which I don't understand, geeks tend to be accepting for the most part and he wasn't some country boy from a conservative area), the high intelligence with a tinge of tinhat.

by Anonymousreply 1201/12/2013

Where is the reeking R11, why bother taking the risk of murder, when he was facing a potential jail term? They could just see if they were successful in locking him up.

by Anonymousreply 1301/12/2013

"For remember, we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House — and where even those brought to “justice” never even have to admit any wrongdoing, let alone be labeled “felons.”

In that world, the question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a “felon.” For in the 18 months of negotiations, that was what he was not willing to accept, and so that was the reason he was facing a million dollar trial in April — his wealth bled dry, yet unable to appeal openly to us for the financial help he needed to fund his defense, at least without risking the ire of a district court judge. And so as wrong and misguided and fucking sad as this is, I get how the prospect of this fight, defenseless, made it make sense to this brilliant but troubled boy to end it."

[bold]Prosecutor as bully[/bold]:

by Anonymousreply 1401/12/2013

Yes, he was on online activist who fought SOPA and liberated JSTOR journals. The US gov't wanted to lock him up for 25 yrs. R9 you're fucked. WTF is 'dehabilitating" you fucking ignoramus.

by Anonymousreply 1501/12/2013

How could a liberal commit suicide with Obama in the White House?

by Anonymousreply 1601/12/2013

It is not good news when someone commits suicide. However, people should free themselves of all their demons and be who they really are!! That helps a lot and keeps you away from doing things like this. Just saying...

by Anonymousreply 1701/12/2013

He was GORGEOUS. He looked just like a young George Michael.

by Anonymousreply 1801/12/2013

I agree. Probably an assassination. This may be the real Bradley Manning.

by Anonymousreply 1901/12/2013

I kind of agree with what he says about titles.... *ducks*... we focus too much on what we and other people are/aren't that we sometimes forget we're all human. In the scheme of the entire universe, none of us is really all that important. We just insist it be so, but we're all mortal in the end. As a human race, we really do need to get ourselves and our self importance and just allow people to live and love.

by Anonymousreply 2001/12/2013

[quote]In 2011, he was arrested in Boston for alleged computer fraud and illegally obtaining documents from protected computers.

Why did he do that?

by Anonymousreply 2101/12/2013

He was really cute.

by Anonymousreply 2201/12/2013

Too bad. He had Big Dick Face.

by Anonymousreply 2301/12/2013

Will Violentacrez be next Redditor to go? He's pretty much rendered himself permanently unemployable.

by Anonymousreply 2401/12/2013

Is this the site that was recently featured on Gawker and how sexist it was?

by Anonymousreply 2501/12/2013

His idea was to take the research material that had been funded by the public and return it to the public.

The publishers who "own" these materials charge enormous fees to individuals and organizations, several hundreds of dollars per paper. Why should they have the right to do that if the research is funded by the public?

by Anonymousreply 2601/12/2013

Yes. The accusations of sexism were mainly against Violentacrez who posted violent and/or gratuitous images of women and children (including deceased kids). Other Redditors were mainly concerned about "free speech" issues.

by Anonymousreply 2701/12/2013

[quote]His idea was to take the research material that had been funded by the public and return it to the public.

What do you mean by "research material"? Raw data? Did he have the ability to evaluate this "research material" and its worth in order to "return it to the public"? Did he provide any useful commentary so lay people could understand this research? I doubt it. Did he even give a shit about its content?

by Anonymousreply 2801/12/2013

He suffered from clinical Depression. It's like cancer of the mind. He was brilliant, attractive; a young idealist. His death is tragic.

by Anonymousreply 2901/12/2013

R29, I can't tell whether you are being serious or sarcastic

by Anonymousreply 3001/12/2013

[quote]What do you mean by "research material"? Raw data? Did he have the ability to evaluate this "research material" and its worth in order to "return it to the public"? Did he provide any useful commentary so lay people could understand this research?

He wanted those scholarly articles/research material which are funded by the public to be freely available to students, researchers and scientists. Instead, those same people, or the institutions they work for/study at, have to pay thousands of dollars to JSTOR for a very limited access.

by Anonymousreply 3101/12/2013

[quote] or the institutions they work for/study at, have to pay thousands of dollars to JSTOR for a very limited access.

You do realize that the academic journals that JSTOR digitizes are available at most university libraries to their faculty, student, alumni and library users, no? You must also realize that these journals are searchable through a myriad of other ways.


[quote]JSTOR is licensed mainly to academic institutions, public libraries, research institutions, museums and schools. More than 7,000 institutions in more than 150 countries have access.[4]

How many people with an interest in the findings of whatever research don't have access to a university library? I have access to several university libraries in my area. I can walk in, do searches and find journals. Sometimes, I'm asked for ID, sometimes not.

I'm not sure what service this guy thinks he was doing for whom.

by Anonymousreply 3601/12/2013

[quote]You do realize that the academic journals that JSTOR digitizes are available at most university libraries to their faculty, student, alumni and library users, no?

You do realize that universities pay tens of thousands of dollars for a limited access to these libraries. Not all universities can afford such fees.

None of JSTOR material is free. So even if you can waltz into your university library and have access to it, it is because at some point someone paid a lot of money for it.

by Anonymousreply 3701/12/2013

[quote]So basically he was a disgruntled asshole who didn't want to pay an online library fee to gain access to material.

Do you know how high JSTOR fees are?

by Anonymousreply 3901/12/2013

[quote]You do realize that universities pay tens of thousands of dollars for a limited access to these libraries

Yes. And those university and public libraries are open to the general public. What's the fucking point?

by Anonymousreply 4001/12/2013

It also goes without saying that's it's not only publicly funded work that ends up on JSTOR. Did he carefully make the distinction?

by Anonymousreply 4101/12/2013

From reading his blog, he really does seem like the kind of guy who might have done the hacking thinking he was doing something for the greater good.

The sad thing is he greatly overestimated the public's hunger for knowledge of the type found in JSTOR.

by Anonymousreply 4401/12/2013

R1 thank you for the link, I agree with every word. Gay is sooo tired.

I too think he knew something and had to be removed. Not a suicide at all.

by Anonymousreply 4501/12/2013

I've sometimes been able to get access to JSTOR through a password link that a Professor friend of mine gave me, but it's not easy.

by Anonymousreply 4601/12/2013

[quote]What's the fucking point?

Am I missing something here. Everywhere I read about it, scientists and researchers claim that a lot of that material is not available to them without high fees. But you are saying that's all bullshit because ALL of JSTOR material is available to anyone. Is that what you are saying?

by Anonymousreply 4801/12/2013

He was cute. What a shame.

by Anonymousreply 4901/12/2013

[quote] why, I should get a free ballistic missile if I want one!

No, you should not, but then again, you do not need one to do your work, do you?

by Anonymousreply 5001/12/2013

JSTOR released public domain papers AFTER Swartz (partially) copied them to his laptop. In fact, they credit him and his partner for the initiative.

[quote]You may recall that following the indictment of Aaron Swartz for downloading some JSTOR papers, a guy named Greg Maxwell decided to upload 33GBs of public domain papers from JSTOR and make them available via The Pirate Bay. He had the papers for a while, but was afraid that he'd get legally harassed for distributing them. However, it appears the opposite has happened. Copycense points us to the news that [bold]JSTOR has now agreed to allow free access to all of its public domain material. In the announcement about this, JSTOR's managing director admits that Maxwell's actions had an impact on this effort, though she claims that JSTOR was planning to do this already:[/bold]

by Anonymousreply 5401/12/2013

[quote] Everywhere I read about it, scientists and researchers claim that a lot of that material is not available to them without high fees.

Who are these people and where do they work? Edna's House of Fine Research?

I know university faculty, adjunct faculty and research staff across several disciplines and educational institutions who have never voiced such complaints.

by Anonymousreply 5501/12/2013

He didn't do it for himself, R53. Have you actually read any articles on this guy?

by Anonymousreply 5601/12/2013

[quote][R48]...yes. You're missing a brain.

Why is it that some of you cannot discuss things without insulting people?

by Anonymousreply 5901/12/2013

[quote]Um, [R54], can you read?

Yes, I can, you condescending piece of shit, Go fuck yourself.

by Anonymousreply 6201/12/2013

We are dropping the ball here, people. This is the DL - we need to see shirtless pictures.

by Anonymousreply 6301/12/2013

Still, it's sad when someone ends their life by their own hand.

Unless you are Hitler. Or a Kardashian.

by Anonymousreply 6401/12/2013

Take from it what you will, R61. What do I care.

by Anonymousreply 6501/12/2013

JSTOR is inaccessible to those outside of universities. Aaron believed in democracy and wanted to make that knowledge/information accessible to everyone, to free it from the Ivory Tower.

R38 clearly has no idea what JSTOR is, which means no uni. Such bitterness and poor diction signal lack of higher education, poor breeding, bad choices and a dead-end job. Losers are often scornful of the accomplished. Sucks to be you, poor angry dumdum.

by Anonymousreply 6601/12/2013

r66, how can you defend the liberation of JSTOR from the chambers of the elite in the same breath as you declare someone trash for lacking a college education? Having said that, r38 really is an idiot.

by Anonymousreply 6701/12/2013

Well r67, Aaron was trying to help asshats like r38. More journal articles, fewer guns.

by Anonymousreply 6901/12/2013

Well, knowledge used to be available for free - books and periodicals in libraries. Or books you could buy at a reasonable cost. If he was against the privatization of knowledge (with a cost of thousands of dollars), knowledge that was funded by the public on top of it, well, I think he had a point.

by Anonymousreply 7001/12/2013

Even if you get a library card there are limits to the access - you can only read the info on library computers at the library or for limited amounts of time.

by Anonymousreply 7101/12/2013

So did he kill himself because he may have been sent to jail for 25 years?

by Anonymousreply 7401/12/2013

Only the good die young. Better to die then fight the corporate assholes, who were probably framing him.

by Anonymousreply 7501/12/2013

He had shit parents. The guy was doomed from the start.

by Anonymousreply 7601/12/2013

I hope r33 dies in a grease fire.

by Anonymousreply 7701/12/2013

I agree with him that he was not gay. With that bad haircut, unclean, disheveled appearance and wrinkled tee shirts? No way.

by Anonymousreply 7801/12/2013

Aaron died that we might learn from the material archived in JSTOR.

Aaron should be canonized.

by Anonymousreply 7901/12/2013

[quote]We are deeply saddened to hear the news about Aaron Swartz. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Aaron’s family, friends, and everyone who loved, knew, and admired him. He was a truly gifted person who made important contributions to the development of the internet and the web from which we all benefit.

[quote]You are not currently logged in through a participating institution or individual account. See the login page for more information.

by Anonymousreply 8001/12/2013

What was on his iPod?

by Anonymousreply 8201/12/2013

[quote]If you think you're going to get all research summarized for you at the mere push of a button from JSTOR, viola?!

Oh, dear!

by Anonymousreply 8301/12/2013

Oh, dear, indeed, R83. (punctuation be damned.)

One of my dearest college friends (from so many ages ago) was actually a violist (viola bigger than the violin, that I know.) in our city's chamber quartet.

by Anonymousreply 8401/13/2013

This doesn't have much to do with the catfight that occupies most of this thread, but it's strange to me that the DL is the only place where I've read any reference to the essay linked in r1. This is probably the #1 story on the internet this weekend - I kind of expected gay blogs to make hay with this guy's (non-gay) queerness.

by Anonymousreply 8501/13/2013

Has anyone here had him?

by Anonymousreply 8601/13/2013

Apartment Seekers: A 7th floor flat is now available at 301 Sullivan Place, corner of Nostrand in Crown Heights. Just four blocks from President Street station.

by Anonymousreply 8701/13/2013

Good lord, what a depressing building and neighborhood

by Anonymousreply 8801/13/2013

Ugh, why would you pay that much to live in a McBuilding in stabby, shooty Crown Heights? He clearly wanted to die.

by Anonymousreply 8901/13/2013

Those attracted by Gold Rushes tend to have a short life span.

by Anonymousreply 9001/13/2013

[bold]Aaron Swartz Died Innocent — Here Is the Evidence[/bold]

I did not know Aaron Swartz, unless you count having copies of a person's entire digital life on your forensics server as knowing him. I did once meet his father, an intelligent and dedicated man who was clearly pouring his life into defending his son. My deepest condolences go out to him and the rest of Aaron's family during what must be the hardest time of their lives.

If the good that men do is oft interred with their bones, so be it, but in the meantime I feel a responsibility to correct some of the erroneous information being posted as comments to otherwise informative discussions at Reddit, Hacker News and Boing Boing. Apparently some people feel the need to self-aggrandize by opining on the guilt of the recently departed, and I wanted to take this chance to speak on behalf of a man who can no longer defend himself. I had hoped to ask Aaron to discuss these issues on the Defcon stage once he was acquitted, but now that he has passed it is important that his memory not be besmirched by the ignorant and uninformed. I have confirmed with Aaron's attorneys that I am free to discuss these issues now that the criminal case is moot.

I was the expert witness on Aaron's side of US vs Swartz, engaged by his attorneys last year to help prepare a defense for his April trial. Until Keker Van Nest called iSEC Partners I had very little knowledge of Aaron's plight, and although we have spoken at or attended many of the same events we had never once met.

Should you doubt my neutrality, let me establish my bona fides. I have led the investigation of dozens of computer crimes, from Latvian hackers blackmailing a stock brokerage to Chinese government-backed attacks against dozens of American enterprises. I have investigated small violations of corporate policy to the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and have responded to break-ins at social networks, e-tailers and large banks. While we are no stranger to pro bono work, having served as experts on EFF vs Sony BMG and Sony vs Hotz, our reports have also been used in the prosecution of at least a half dozen attackers. In short, I am no long-haired hippy anarchist who believes that anything goes on the Internet. I am much closer to the stereotypical capitalist white-hat sellout that the AntiSec people like to rant about (and steal mail spools from) in the weeks before BlackHat.

I know a criminal hack when I see it, and Aaron's downloading of journal articles from an unlocked closet is not an offense worth 35 years in jail.

The government's allegations are laid out in detail in the indictment (included in full at the bottom of this post), and contemporaneous news accounts provide a good summary of the prosecutor's view of events.

Aaron was accused of downloading millions of documents from JSTOR, a non-profit web portal used by university researchers to access the archives of thousands of academic journals. At the time of Aaron's actions, JSTOR access was not free to individuals, and the locking away of this huge store of academic research was extremely controversial and a topic of personal interest to Aaron. In a sad irony, just this week JSTOR announced that millions of articles will now be free to individuals.

(more at link)

by Anonymousreply 9201/13/2013

If I end up dead instructions.

Sorry, I don't think this guy committed suicide. He was dangerous to the powers that be who want total control of the information flow. This guy presented real potential problems for them.

by Anonymousreply 9301/14/2013

Rebecca Tarbatton, the 39 year-old head of Rainforest Action Network, who was leading RAN's campaign against the global banking system on environmental grounds is another suspicious death.

Then, look at all of the dead microbiologists between 1980 and now...hundreds before their time.

Intelligent activists or people who know too much, especially if they make waves or who have potential to make waves are as good as dead

by Anonymousreply 9401/14/2013

His body discovered by girlfriend, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman. Doorman wouldn't say if they lived together. At least he was going with a Jewish girl.

by Anonymousreply 9501/14/2013

I don't know who this is, then. Quinn? Seems like the love of his life.

by Anonymousreply 9601/14/2013

Aaron Swartz: husband of prosecutor criticises internet activist's family

IBM executive married to district attorney tweets anger after family suggests overzealous prosecution contributed to his death

by Anonymousreply 9701/15/2013

[quote]People who commit suicide know what they are doing.

Honey, you're an ignorant idiot. So do us a favor, and leave DL.

by Anonymousreply 9801/20/2013

[quote]The other issue is this...suicide is often an act of revenge. The ultimate act of revenge.

Oh, god. Here comes the soap opera. Sorry, but that's not true, hon -- at least not in 98% of the cases. People who commit suicide are not in the right frame of mind. And no, suicide is not selfish. Proclaiming that you're a victim because someone killed themselves not thinking about "you," that's selfish!

by Anonymousreply 9901/20/2013
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