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TED Blog


On Friday, Aaron Swartz — the 26-year-old internet innovator who helped create RSS and had a hand in the building of Reddit — was found dead in his apartment in an apparent suicide. Swartz, who suffered from depression, had reportedly found out just days before that a plea bargain deal with federal prosecutors had fallen apart. A longtime proponent of free information online, in 2010, Swartz took to MIT’s computer network and downloaded nearly five million articles from the pay-per-use database JSTOR, with the mission of making the data publicly available. While JSTOR chose not prosecute, the U.S. government did. (MIT is internally reviewing its own role in the prosecution.)

According to the Wall Street Journal, Swartz was coming to terms with how the case — in which he faced up to 35 years in jail and $1 million in fines — would affect the rest of his life…

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