Calls for internet law reform and open access after activist suicide

The funeral of Aaron Swartz, the 26-year-old internet activist who killed himself last week, is taking place today. The activist’s death has led to calls for reform of internet law and more open access to publicly held information. Swartz was due to go to court in April to face thirteen charges including wire fraud and computer fraud after he downloaded 4.8 million scientific and literary papers from the subscription service JSTOR via MIT’s open campus network and MIT’s JSTOR subscription.The felony charges could have led to thirty-five years in prison. Although the authorities were, according to the Wall Street Journal, only seeking seven years and were prepared to plea bargain down to six to eight months if Swartz pleaded guilty to all charges, he was not prepared to do any time in jail. Many feel that the threat of decades in jail may have contributed to Swartz’s state of mind; he had previously documented his depression.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.