Saturday, January 12, 2013

Aaron Swartz, Inventor of RSS and Reddit, Takes Own Life

Sad, shocking news. Aaron Swartz, best known among programmers for co-developing the RSS news-feed specification when he was only 14, then in 2005 developing Reddit, and who later became a leading digital activist, helping to found Demand Progress, has committed suicide.

Internet, privacy, activism, Aaron Swartz, suicide, RSS, Reddit

Swartz's body was found Friday evening in Brooklyn, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman with the New York medical examiner's office. The 26-year-old had hanged himself.

His advocacy of online privacy led him to push the legal limits. In 2009 the FBI investigated him for releasing millions of U.S. federal court documents online. The alleged hacking was significant because the documents came from the government-run Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER, which typically charges a fee, which was 8 cents a page in 2009.

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.

One of the true geniuses, and great all-around guys,  who invented the things we all use every day, such a sad thing. May he rest in peace.

Here's more information in the story on CNN.

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