BY Beth Comery
Aaron Swartz, Reddit co-founder and internet activist, took his own life Friday at his Brooklyn apartment. Swartz also co-founded Demand Progress with former Rhode Island state representative — and co-creator of the Providence Daily Dose — David Segal. Together they were instrumental in getting the Hollywood-backed SOPA bill tabled indefinitely. But Swartz’s activism had led to legal problems. The New York Times writes,
At 14, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous tool that allows users to subscribe to online information. He later became an Internet folk hero, pushing to make many Web files free and open to the public. But in July 2011, he was indicted on federal charges of gaining illegal access to JSTOR, a subscription-only service for distributing scientific and literary journals, and downloading 4.8 million articles and documents, nearly the entire library.
Go to Demand Progress to read tributes to Swartz from Glenn Greenwald, Lawrence Lessig, Quinn Norton, and Cory Doctorow who described his friend as “uncompromising, principled, smart, flawed, loving, caring, and brilliant.”
[Additional Note: Take 17 minutes and listen to an interview with Lawrence Lessig on NPR's 'On Point with Tom Ashbrook.' Lessig is a professor of law and leadership and director of the Center for Ethics at Harvard University; he was a friend of Aaron Swartz and at one point served as his lawyer.]