Aaron Swartz dead: Internet activist, programmer was 26 - chicagotribune.com
Internet activist and computer prodigy Aaron Swartz, who helped create an early version of the Web feed system RSS and was facing federal criminal charges in a controversial fraud case, has committed suicide at age 26, authorities said on Saturday.The charges Swartz was facing are crazy. Hacking can be a serious crime, and should be prosecuted. But should stealing articles result in a sentence comparable with murder?Swartz faced trouble in July 2011, when he was indicted by a federal grand jury of wire fraud, computer fraud and other charges related to allegedly stealing millions of academic articles and journals from a digital archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
According to the federal indictment, Swartz - who was a fellow at Harvard University's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics - used MIT's computer networks to steal more than 4 million articles from JSTOR, an online archive and journal distribution service.
JSTOR did not press charges against Swartz after the digitized copies of the articles were returned, according to media reports at the time.
Swartz, who pleaded not guilty to all counts, faced 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted. He was released on bond. His trial was scheduled to start later this year.