Aaron Swarts (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was a programmer who could be considered as one of the founders of the internet that we use today making is easily accessible to reach target websites efficiently and effectively. “At 14, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous tool that allows users to subscribe to online information. He later became an Internet folk hero, pushing to make many Web files free and open to the public.”(Schwartz 1). When someone is able to do something this extraordinary at such a young age, it was easily determined that something was special about this kid. A few years later, he merged with a company we know as reddit which posts information about popular topics in everyday life. He became known as one of the heroes of the internet after this creation.
Swarts career was pretty much set in stone at this point where he would become successful by sharing information about everyday social activities to the world. Unfortunately, something went terribly wrong. After publishing many posts about the issues that he felt were necessary, the government intervened and pressed charges onto him for providing a way for people to download documents from free library pages using his JSOR account to allow people to use his access through MIT. Even though Swarts had no bad intentions in doing so, the government treated Swarts as a criminal and labeled him as someone who should be labeled as a thief. Although Swarts returned all the documents that he had illegally downloaded, he was faced with a 1 million dollar fine and up to 35 years in prison. After this occurrence, Swarts fell into a deep depression due to the exhaustion that the trials were causing him and eventually he couldn’t handle it anymore. Swarts committed suicide in order to take away the pain that he had been feeling for so long as well as the illness in his head that had been caused by this phenomenon.
This occurrence brings us back to the issue of what information can be released and what information is restricted to the public. Like Edward Snowden, Aaron Swarts became a victim to the unforgiving laws of the government for expressing the truth about our everyday lives and providing necessary information to the public. Both of these people were treated the same way for doing so by receiving great amounts of punishment. At the end of the day, both of these people can be considered heroes of their generation because they were able to do what everyone else was either afraid to do, or couldn’t do at all. It is just unfortunate that they were mistreated for their actions instead of applauded. This will instill fear into those who wish to follow in Swarts footsteps by creating a website that provides information on topics important in society which will probably have a bad long term effect on the future generation.
Schwartz, John. “Internet Activist, a Creator of RSS, Is Dead at 26, Apparently a Suicide.” Wwww.nytimes.com. New York Times, 12 Jan. 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2013.
“RSS Creator Aaron Swartz Dead at 26.” RSS Creator and Reddit Cofounder Aaron Swartz Dead at 26. N.p., 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2013.