A loss to the World: The Death of Aaron Swartz
So that his death is not in vain, let it lead to an awakening about how off-track the United States has become on prosecutorial power and loss of privacy; and let's all work so the issues he stood for, Internet freedom and free sharing of information, gain strength as his legacy.
Who knows what more Aaron Swartz would have contributed to the world. He did so much in such a short time. Swartz was cofounder of the social media sharing site Reddit, a co-author of RSS, a co-creator of Creative Commons, and founder of Demand Progress — which successfully rallied millions to fight SOPA and PIPA. Swartz was mercilessly prosecuted, threatened with over 30 years in prison, for actions which — were he guilty — had no real victims, were not done with intent to benefit financially, and whose main target requested the case be dropped.
The prosecutors who hounded him to his death should resign in shame or be fired as they are not fit to have the tremendous power they have been given. But,while Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney showed her personal flaws, this case also highlighted the flaws of a criminal justice system that has given too much power to prosecutors and results in obscenely long and harsh sentencing.
The United States, the so-called land of the free, is home to 25% of the world's prisoners. That is something the country should reflect on and should result in a re-appraisal of the way the country approaches crime and punishment.
The death of Aaron Swartz is a sad story and a great loss to the human race. Let us hope it results in an awakening about how off-track the United States has become on prosecutorial power and loss of privacy; and let's all work to make sure the issues he stood for: Internet freedom and free sharing of information gain strength as his legacy.
From Democracy Now: "Cyber activist and computer programmer Aaron Swartz took his life on Friday at the age of 26. We air an address of Swartz’s from last May where he speaks about the battle to defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA — a campaign he helped lead. "[SOPA] will have yet another name, and maybe a different excuse, and probably do its damage in a different way. But make no mistake: The enemies of the freedom to connect have not disappeared," Swartz said. "Next time they might just win. Let’s not let that happen."
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