Last night I saw a documentary film on the history of Aaron Swartz ( The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. ) and It left me with a feeling of anger and despair as it has ended the life of a person with talent and altruism .
Now two years have passed since his death and it was said so much about him, but I still want to trace on my blog, to remember him and thank him for what he gave our world.
For the uninitiated Aaron was a programmer of extraordinary talent. At only 12 years created The info a project similar to Wikipedia, five years before the birth of Wikipedia itself …
At 14, he helped create the specifications RSS 1.0, 15 instead participated in the design of the source code of the Creative Commons licenses and their dissemination.
A few years later he created a startup Infogami, thanks to funding from Y Combinator’s and in 2005 there was the merger withReddit .
In a few years he created a framework python ( web.py ), a network of proxy servers (HTTP Tor2web ), studies on ‘ use of Wikipedia in 2007 and was among the creators of Open Library (a digital library project of ‘Internet Archive)
In short, an extraordinary talent at the service of the web and open source. And it was this vision of the free world to get him into trouble.
In 2009, Swartz dumped and spread publicly about 20% of the database PACER (a database that contains legal documents public, but US citizens could only be accessed for a fee) that cost him the first investigation of the FBI.
In July 2011, he was accused of having downloaded and distributed 4 million academic articles from JSTOR (a digital library online nonprofit whose subscription may however cost tens of thousands of dollars!)
items which, however, were in the public domain in the original version, but not in that digital used in JSTOR that became public from September 2011.
He had become a symbol of activism of free opinion and ‘Obama administration wanted to give a strong message, bringing the charges from 4 to 13, to accuse him of a crime that involved a fine of $ 1 million and a sentence of up to a maximum of 35 years in prison.
One of the crazy things about this story was that most of the allegations (11 out of 13!) were derived from a law ” Computer Fraud & Abuse Act “which was created in 1986, being inspired by one of the cult film of the hacker world” War Games “(The movie scared so much by the US Congress to approve the terms absurd)
For example, it was a crime not respect precisely the Terms and Conditions of a website (where they often are ambiguous and meaningless phrases like: ” Be kind to others “or” not do anything that is considered improper “)
The story will end in the worst way, as we already know, Aaron will take away life in his apartment in Brooklyn just 27 years .
Its injustice was seen by all the people of the network and many contributed with a tweet or an article to spread.
The movement has led to a bill that would reform the “Computer Fraud” and is called ” the law of Aaron ”
The Movie : The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz.
Aaron’s blog : Aaronsw