Family of Highland Park Internet Pioneer Blames Feds in Son’s Suicide
Highland Park native and Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide at 26 last Friday, was tormented unfairly by the federal government, according to those who spoke at his funeral on Tuesday.
Highland Park native Aaron Swartz was remembered as a brilliant, compassionate mind who inspired friends and family alike during a moving funeral service held at Central Avenue Synagogue on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old who committed suicide last Friday was also mourned as a victim of unfair treatment by the government.
In the packed to capacity chapel, Swartz’s academic mentors, his defense attorney and his father lamented the impending trial Swartz was preparing for that they believe contributed to his depression and led to his decision to hang himself in his New York apartment last week.
“Aaron did not commit suicide but was killed by the government,” said Robert Swartz, Aaron’s father. “The hole he left us with will never be repaired.”
Swartz co-created the social news website Reddit and founded Demand Progress, an organization devoted to Internet activism and fighting expanded government oversight of the Internet, according to CNN.
Considered a prodigy by his peers, parents and professors, Swartz created RSS, a now common web-publishing technology, when he was 14.
“Parents were reading to their kids,” Robert said about raising his son, “and Aaron was reading to us.”
Swartz got into trouble with the federal government in 2011 when he was indicted for using MIT’s computer networks to gain illegal access to JSTOR, a subscription-based service that distributes literary and scientific journals. According to federal prosecutors, he then downloaded more than four million articles. Federal prosecutors charged Swartz with multiple counts of wire fraud, computer fraud, according to the Huffington Post.
Read more at the Wilmette Patch
image RSS Icon, a technology which was developed by Aaron Swartz