Aaron Swartz (RSS) Dead at 26 of Suicide

Discussion in 'The Bar' started by newcastlefan, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    probably doesn't mean much to most of you, but he was one of the good guys.

    Aaron Swartz, a wizardly programmer who as a teenager helped to develop a computer code that provided a format for delivering regularly changing Web content and in later life became an unwavering crusader to make that information free of charge, died in New York on Friday, a family member said.
    Mr. Swartz was 26, and his death was due to suicide His body was found by his girlfriend in his apartment in New York, his uncle, Michael Wolf, said on Saturday . He had apparently hanged himself, Mr. Wolf said.
    As a 14-year-old, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous software that allows people to subscribe to information from the Internet. But as he reached adulthood, Mr. Swartz became even more of an Internet folk hero to many because of his online activism to make many Internet files open to the public for free.
    In July 2011, he was indicted in Boston on federal charges that he illegally gained access to JSTOR, a subscription-only online service for distributing scientific and literary journals, and downloaded 4.8 million articles and other documents, nearly the entire library.
    At the time of his death, Mr. Swartz was still facing charges in that case related to wire fraud, computer fraud and unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, which carried a penalty, if convicted, of up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
    “Aaron built surprising new things that changed the flow of information around the world,†said Susan Crawford, a professor at Cardozo School of Law in New York who served in the Obama administration as a technology adviser. She called Mr. Swartz “a complicated prodigy,†and said “graybeards approached him with awe.â€
    Mr. Wolf, his uncle, said that he would remember Mr. Swartz as a young man who “looked at the world, and had a certain logic in his brain, and the world didn’t necessarily fit in with that logic, and that was sometimes difficult.â€
    The Tech, a newspaper of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, previously reported Mr. Swartz’s death.
    Mr. Swartz led an often itinerant life that included dropping out of Stanford, forming companies and organizations, and becoming a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.
    Mr. Swartz formed a company that merged with Reddit, the popular news and information site. He also co-founded Demand Progress, a group that promotes online campaigns on social justice issues — including a successful effort, with other groups, to oppose a Hollywood-backed Internet piracy bill known as SOPA, the Stop Piracy Act.
    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 public.resource.org, have long argued that such documents should be free since 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, he 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.â€
    Mr. Swartz recalled, “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.
    When an article about his PACER exploit was published in The New York Times, Mr. Swartz responded in a blog in a typically puckish manner, announcing the story in the form of a personal ad: “Attention attractive people: Are you looking for someone respectable enough that they’ve been personally vetted by The New York Times, but has enough of a bad-boy streak that the vetting was because they ‘liberated’ millions of dollars of government documents? If so, look no further than page A14 of today’s New York Times†In the PACER exploit, the federal government investigated but decided not to prosecute.
     
  2. GHP

    GHP New Member Banned User

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    Jewish fella, was he?
     
  3. Napoleon V2

    Napoleon V2 New Member Banned User

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    this makes him a good guy?
     
  4. zhukov

    zhukov Time traveler Gold

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    he hacked himself
     
  5. DogStar69

    DogStar69 Well-Known Member

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    We need a Jackie laugh smilie,
     
  6. 2Manboobs

    2Manboobs New Member Banned User

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    All work & no play make a computer geek a suicidal boy


    [​IMG]
     
  7. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    dont think so: swartz is often german. schwartz would be the jewish form. kid was a genius and an activist. he pissed off the feds because he legally accessed a pay for use online library (JSTOR) of scientific journals and research and downloaded their entire content with the intent of making it freely available. JSTOR claimed he stole it; he said he just read every item they had and saved it, which was permitted within the subscription. they just never expected anyone to figure out how to do it efficiently and quickly.
     
  8. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    must have been, although he did have a girl. i guess the constant pressure from the feds was getting to him. must have been 10 years of constant stress.
     
  9. waltermelon

    waltermelon Mmmm melon VIP

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    Jail or suicide. Looks like he took the less "anal rapey" way out.
     
  10. GHP

    GHP New Member Banned User

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    I think the Yiddish is Shvartze
     
  11. ZosoHitler

    ZosoHitler VIP Extreme Gold

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    He pissed off some powerful people and was looking at jail time.
     
  12. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    he wouldn't have been jailed. the feds would have put him to work. plus he had lots of powerful friends who respected his talents. it would have been stressful but he would have come out of it ok.
     
  13. Gas Face

    Gas Face Well-Known Member

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    He offed himself to get out of jail. Sounds like a pussy to me
     
  14. mattyfishrip197

    mattyfishrip197 Well-Known Member

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    sounds like a good guy......busting massive balls he was
     
  15. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    so did kevin mitchnik except kevin didn't do anything useful and he did his time and it hasn't hurt him (he's made millions from it) aaron did many socially great things. the public pressure to lay off him would have been enormous had he asked for it. i suspect aaron was dispassionate because he believed he would not be able to make a difference.
     
  16. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    i remember when i first read about the JSTOR incident. i thought "he has more than smarts. he has style"; anyone can start a revolution, but he was doing it with panache. I contributed to some of his causes, like Demand Progress, specifically because he was involved.
     
  17. Gas Face

    Gas Face Well-Known Member

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    Is froggy admitting to hacking SFN? :coffee:
     
  18. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    their summary isn't accurate. JSTOR is a paid private archive of scientific research papers created from public funding. publicly funded research is supposed to belong to the public. that's what public funded projects means. he bought a subscription. the terms of it were that he had unlimited access for the terms of the subscription. he wrote a program that would simply download and store every item exceptionally fast. something JSTOR had not anticipated anyone being able to do.

    there's a big difference from being accused of things, and being convicted of them. he would not have been convicted because the prosecution could not make their case.
     
  19. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan גֵּרְשֹׁם VIP

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    be real.

    everything aaron did was legal and permitted within the license of the subscriptions. the owners just never anticipated that anyone could do what he did so they never expressly prohibited it. contracts have to be explicit to be enforceable; the JSTOR subscription agreement did not prohibit what he did. in fact the argument is easily made that they permitted exactly what he did: he viewed their articles. he just viewed all of their articles.

    did the wright brothers commit a crime by flying just because nobody thought they could do it and they succeeded?
     
  20. HeinousMark

    HeinousMark Creepy-Ass Cracka VIP

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    Did they have valid Pilot's licenses? I think not!!!!!!!!!