Suicide of Aaron Swartz
11th January 2013
On the evening of January 11, 2013, Aaron Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment by his partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman. A spokeswoman for New York's Medical Examiner reported that he had hanged himself. No suicide note was found.
Swartz was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS, the organization Creative Commons, the website framework web.py and the social news site, Reddit, in which he became a partner after its merger with his company, Infogami.
Swartz's later work focused on sociology, civic awareness and activism. He helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in 2009 to learn more about effective online activism. In 2010 he became a research fellow at Harvard University's Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption, directed by Lawrence Lessig. He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.
On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested by MIT police on state breaking-and-entering charges, after systematically downloading academic journal articles from JSTOR. Federal prosecutors later charged him with two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, carrying a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution and supervised release.
Two years later, two days after the prosecution denied his lawyer's second offer of a plea bargain, Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn, New York apartment, where he had hanged himself.