Tuesday, 15 January 2013

RIP Aaron Swartz.

Swartz took his own life last weekend by hanging himself. But most of the people do not know who Aaron Swartz was. A lot of netizens seemed to be mourning though. From what I've read the poor chap committed suicide because of the fear of a long term prison sentence. All he did was get access to some pay for access site at MIT and made them public. The US government and MIT wanted to show everyone what would happen if you steal. He was facing a life sentence of 35 years in prison. He wanted to make a point that public data should be free and open. Considering the gravity of the situation there was little chance that he would face life imprisonment, but I guess the pressure got to him.

Swartz believed in Open Internet, Open Access, Open Source Code and Open Data. He created some the technology that we even use at the very precise moment. RSS (really simple syndication), many of you might be even reading this through rss feeds. He also co-founded Reddit, many of my mates use that. He was most recently famous for was helping to organize the social media blitz that turned public opinion away from the ill conceived SOPA anti piracy bill last year.

Aaron Swartz, you will truly be missed, as one of the innovative thinkers of this century.

Rest in Peace mate.
Vinnie

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