Aaron Swartz, who helped develop RSS and co-founded Reddit has been found dead in his Crown heights, Brooklyn apartment just weeks before he was due to face charges of theft relating to millions of scholarly articles so that he could make them freely available to the public.
The 26 year old prodigy was a member of the RSS-DEV Working Group that co-authored the RSS 1.0 spec of RSS and built the website framework web.py, as well as the architecture for the Open Library and was a co-founder of InfoGami, which later merged with Reddit – which was later acquired by San Francisco company, Wired.
In recent years, Swartz also focused on civic awareness, sociaology and co-founded “Demand Progress” better known for its work in campaigning against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). Swartz was arrested in 2011 in connection with the illegal download of academic journals from JSTOR – which resulted in a federal investigation.
Swartz, who confessed to being depressed in a 2007 blog entry commited suicide by hanging himself and his family expressed both grief and bitterness toward US federal prosecutors pursuing the case against him, claiming that “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”
~ John Govender