In late 2010, Aaron Swartz downloaded a large number of academic journal articles through MIT’s computer network. At the time, Aaron was a research fellow at Harvard University, which provided him with an authorized account. Aaron’s motivation for downloading the articles was never fully determined. However, friends and colleagues reported that Aaron’s intention was either to publicly share them on the Internet or uncover corruption in the funding of climate change research. Faced with prosecutors being overzealous and a dysfunctional US criminal justice system, Aaron was charged with a maximum penalty of $1 million in fines and 35 years in prison, leading to a two-year legal battle with the US federal government that ended when Aaron took his own life on January 11, 2013.
Aaron taught himself to read when he was three. At twelve, he created a user-generated encyclopedia, which he later likened to an early version of Wikipedia. He then turned his computer genius to political organizing, information sharing and online freedom. Aaron was on to making a better world for us all; a freer world