I was first introduced to Aaron (impossibly young), over a decade ago at a tech conference (OSCON?). And, while we were never close, we often floated in the same circles (tech, activism, civic and political tech) and over the years our paths crossed many times, in emails, projects, at conferences or meetups. The last time I saw him was in Boston, June 2010. We met up outside a food court in Cambridge and caught up on the projects we were starting/wrapping up and swapped some thoughts on civic and campaign tech.
More than a friend, Aaron Swartz was a fellow traveler. He was one of us. In many ways, the best of us. It was a punch in the gut when I read the headline last night. He dedicated much of his life and his many talents in fighting injustice and trying to make a difference.
And beyond the sense of loss, there’s a bitter taste that injustice and indifference has won the day.
Rest in peace Aaron Swartz.
- Hacker News – today’s top headlines almost all articles related to Aaron’s suicide. First article
- Remember Aaron Swartz
- Official Statement from the family and partner of Aaron Swartz
- Cory Doctorow remembers Aaron
- tbl on www-tag
- The inspiring heroism of Aaron Swartz – Glenn Greenwald writes a long piece
- HN discussion)
- Philip Greenspun: Aaron Swartz
- Remembering Aaron Swartz (1986-2013) – Wikimedia remembers Aaron
- Aaron Swartz, hero of the open world, dies – Brewster Kahle remembers Aaron
- Wired Threat Level: Aaron Swartz, Coder and Activist, Dead at 26
We often say, upon the passing of a friend or loved one, that the world is a poorer place for the loss. But with the untimely death of programmer and activist Aaron Swartz, this isn’t just a sentiment; it’s literally true. Worthy, important causes will surface without a champion equal to their measure. Technological problems will go unsolved, or be solved a little less brilliantly than they might have been. And that’s just what we know. The world is robbed of a half-century of all the things we can’t even imagine Aaron would have accomplished with the remainder of his life.
- Open access, open internet, closed book – mefi obit thread
- Remember Aaron Swartz by working for open society and against government abuses – Dan Gillmor on anger and activism
- processing the loss of Aaron Swartz – danah writes a fantastic piece that captures both what it was like to know him and explores what he got caught up in (and why we’re angry)
- Legal Case Strained Troubled Web Activist – WSJ covers Aaron’s last days
- Aaron Swartz Faced A More Severe Prison Term Than Killers, Slave Dealers And Bank Robbers – see the EFF on how broken CFAA is
- Aaron Swartz’s Lawyer: Prosecutor Stephen Heymann Wanted ‘Juicy’ Case For Publicity – eat a bag of dicks Stephen P Heymann. Hope it was worth it.
- On humanity, a big failure in Aaron Swartz case – oh yeah, you too MIT.
Marty Weinberg, who took the case over from Good, said he nearly negotiated a plea bargain in which Swartz would not serve any time. He said JSTOR signed off on it, but MIT would not.
- Aaron Swartz, Asking For Help, 119 Days Ago – sigh, sadness
- Aaron Swartz was ‘killed by the government,’ father tells mourners
“Steve Heymann had shown no interest in justice,” Swartz’s girlfriend, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, 31, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “His only interest was a notch on his belt, another young kid he could claim to put away. But I think as the case wore on, as it became clearer how weak his case was, he became more and more of a bully.”
- Lawmakers slam DOJ prosecution of Swartz as ‘ridiculous, absurd’
- I’m Rep Zoe Lofgren & I’m introducing “Aaron’s Law” to change the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
- The Criminal Charges Against Aaron Swartz – Part 2: Prosecutorial Discretion – Orin Kerr has an interesting writeup and the comments on the post and the HN discussion are both worth reading and thinking about. I do think the key is the systemic issues raised: the much more heinous crimes that aren’t prosecuted (HSBC), the de facto policy making that happens from prosecutorial discretion, the de facto punishment for indictment (either plea bargain or spend millions at trial and face a 99%+ conviction rate). While Aaron civil disobedience might have been aimed towards open access, instead what he really shone a light on (and what chewed him up) was the maw of our “justice” system. Also, I think Kerr’s analysis highlights at least two glaring contradictionss. Kerr repeatedly argues that his values are not neutral but judged against “Democracy” (more accurately, Legalism; which at this point is barely/vaguely democratic), however by that rubric, any/all civil disobedience/injustice (from the Civil Rights movement, etc) should be 1) punished fully against the letter of the law, even if it’s wrong/ridiculous, etc and 2) that the rubric for prosecution/punishment should be based on what would be necessary for “special deterrence” – as mentioned by a commenter, by that rubric, federal prosecutors would be morally justified in arresting and holding in detention indefinitely (or, presumably killing) political dissidents. Taking a step back, to something (slightly) less absurd, as put by gnosis:
“What punishment was the minimum necessary to deter Swartz from continuing to try to use unlawful means to achieve his reform goals?”
Let’s say no punishment would deter Swartz. Would that justify a sentence of life in prison?
- Aaron Swartz and the Corrupt Practice of Plea Bargaining
- U.S. Attorney breaks silence, defends prosecution of Aaron Swartz – they’ll do it again (and again) and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. I think it behooves everyone to fully take into account what American Justice means.
- The Prosecution of Aaron: A Response to Orin Kerr – in-depth response to Kerr’s analysis that I find a lot to agree with
- After Aaron: how an antiquated law enables the government’s war on hackers, activists, and you – if you’re online and reading this, it’s unlikely you’ve never committed a felony under the CFAA. You just haven’t been charged (yet). If you read the comments, ignore the troll Modred189, who apparently has nothing better to do in life than argue for the prosecution on all the Verge’s articles on the topic.
- Aaron’s Army – Carl Malamud’s fiery call to action at Aaron’s SF memorial service.
- Swartz didn’t face prison until feds took over case, report says
Raw Nerve – some of Aaron’s best writing.
F2C2012: Aaron Swartz keynote – “How we stopped SOPA”