Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Government 'killed my activist son'

Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz was "killed by the US government", his father told mourners.

Mr Swartz, who helped create Reddit and RSS, the technology behind blogs, podcasts and other web-based subscription services, was found dead last Friday in his New York apartment.

He was facing trial accused of illegally gaining access to millions of articles from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer archive - charges that could have sent him to prison for decades.

During the funeral service in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb, his father Robert said his son was "hounded by the government, and MIT refused him", the Chicago Sun-Times said.

"He was killed by the government, and MIT betrayed all of its basic principles," Robert Swartz said.

Aaron Swartz, 26, was due to stand trial in April.

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz had no comment about Robert Swartz's remarks, her spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said.

Mr Swartz's family also lashed out against prosecutors on Saturday, saying Aaron's death was "the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach".

Mr Swartz's case highlighted society's uncertain, evolving view of how to treat people who break into computer systems and share data not to enrich themselves, but to make it available to others.

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, director of the Safra Centre for Ethics where Mr Swartz was once a fellow, both spoke at the funeral. "We felt the indictment was nonsense and that he would be acquitted," Mr Berners-Lee told the newspaper after the service.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph