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Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:31 PM

Remembering Aaron Swartz, “Alpha Geek” and Defender of Online Freedom


from YES! Magazine:


Remembering Aaron Swartz, “Alpha Geek” and Defender of Online Freedom
Aaron Swartz took his own life at the age of 26, after years of legal trouble over academic articles he downloaded and intended to share. He leaves behind a legacy of thinking about the power of the internet to shape our political lives.

by Micah L. Sifry
posted Jan 17, 2013

This article was originally published at TechPresident.com.




Aaron is dead.

Wanderers in this crazy world,
we have lost a mentor, a wise elder.

Hackers for right, we are one down,
we have lost one of our own.

Nurtures, careers, listeners, feeders,
parents all,
we have lost a child.

Let us all weep.


—Sir Tim Berners Lee, January 11, 2013



Aaron Swartz, a leading activist for open information, internet freedom, and democracy, died at his own hand Friday January 11. He was 26 years old.

There is no single comprehensive list of his good works, but here are some of them: At the age of 14 he co-authored the RSS 1.0 spec—taking brilliant advantage of the fact that internet working groups didn't care if someone was 14, they only cared if their code worked.

Then he met Larry Lessig and worked closely with him on the early architecting of Creative Commons, an immense gift to all kinds of sharing of culture. He also was the architect and first coder of the Internet Archive's OpenLibrary.org, which now has made more than one million books freely available to anyone with an internet connection. "We couldn't have come this far without his crucial expertise," Open Library says on its about page.

He also co-founded Reddit.com, the social news site, and Demand Progress, an online progressive action group that played a vital role in the anti-SOPA/PIPA fight. He also contributed occasionally to Personal Democracy Forum, writing this article on why wikis work and this essay on "parpolity" or the idea that nested councils of elected representatives could be used to represent a whole country, for our 2008 book, Rebooting America. He was a fellow traveler. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/remembering-aaron-swartz-alpha-geek-defender-online-internet-freedom



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