Home » Aaron Swartz Committed Suicide on the Account of Allegations

Aaron Swartz Committed Suicide on the Account of Allegations

Suicide of Aaron Swartz is creating sensation in the society, particularly in internet circles. He is an interest activist who is also a co founder of Reddit. He has committed this act by hanging himself. This incident took place on 11th Jan 2013 and he is 26 years old, as on the date of this incident. He is considered as a genius who has developed initial versions of Rich Site Summary which is called as RSS. He was facing federal criminal charges on the account of allegations of hacking and controversial fraud.

Aaron Swartz is well known as the co author of RSS 1.0 web feed format and he has achieved this feet at the tender age of just 14 years. This is a feed format where the users can be able to get the updates of a site or blog, as like in a news site. He has brought 19 million pages related to federal court documents from PACER case law system and made them available free of cost to the public.
He has also done many such things. He believed that information is power and hence it should be shared with public which can in turn prove good for society. He gradually formed a nonprofit organization called as Demand Process. This group has conducted a campaign which assisted in getting the Stop Online Piracy Act. This is a bill introduced in US House of Representatives in 2011. This Act of Stop Online Piracy is intended to curb access to few websites which are involved in sharing of intellectual property illegally.

In the month of July 2011, Aaron Swartz faced difficulties after being indicted for computer fraud, wire fraud and other such charges, which allege him of stealing millions of academic journals and articles by federal grand jury. He got accused of theft of four million articles and all journals from digital archive JSTOR which is a web based archive & journal distribution service at MIT or Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to these allegations, Aaron used the Computer Network of MIT for stealing them. He studied at Edmond J Safra Center for Ethic of Harvard University. If the allegations on Swartz were proved in the court, he would have to face fine of one million dollar and thirty five years prison punishment. Because of all these allegations, Swartz felt very bad and depressed and he committed suicide on 11th Jan 2013 in New York City.
News of suicide of Aaron Swartz has been first brought to light by MIT Newspaper ‘The Tech’ and it cites both his attorney and his uncle. As per the allegations on Aaron, he got unauthorized access to restricted computer network at MIT. He founded a company by name Infogami which has been later merged in to Reddit. The group founded by him, Demand Progress was active in the battle against SOPA. According to a friend of Swartz, i.e. Coy Doctorow, Swartz was suffering and is fighting against depression since few years. Few experts are saying that Swartz could have faced maximum of four million dollars of fine and might have to spend fifty years in prison if convicted, since the number of felony courts have been increased by government from four to thirteen.

Just before the news of suicide of Swartz saw light, Jstor has announced that it will make more than 4.5 million articles available publicly free of cost. Swartz also mentioned in 2007 that he had suicidal thoughts during low phase in his career. He once wrote about struggling with depression and distinguishing the same from sadness.

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About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is an established and independent voice dedicated to providing you unique, well researched and original information from the field of technology, SEO, social media, and blogging.


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  • it feels really bad when i see any internet activist take such step.. but he was accused of many internet fraud cases… and i ve also read somewhere it he would have gone jail for atleast 30 years for his crimes… but still i do not appreciate the suicide…. 🙁

  • Hi Atish

    He was a great programmer, but couldn’t bear the brunt of the blames on him.

    A great tribute through your blog.


  • He is the ultimate programmer. Today we can subscribe to feed of any website is just because of Aron. Great Guy. RIP.

  • Yes, I agree that suicide is not the solution to all your problems. However, handling the situation when you go into depression is very difficult. At such times, you are not able to decide what to do and what to avoid. I guess suicide was a bad decision and Aaron should have fought for it.

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