A bipartisan group of lawmakers has called for an investigation into the death of hacktivist Aaron Swartz. The group criticized Attorney General Eric Holder about the Department of Justice’s handling of the prosecution of the activist.
The eight lawmakers blasted Holder over the DOJ’s unwillingness to turn over information related to the case. The information was requested a year ago, and the lawmakers see the reports by the DOJ as inconsistent. They are pushing for a full investigation into the prosecution. Last week, the group sent Holder a letter stating:
We regret that the information your Department has provided to date has not been satisfactory -- among other things, it painted a picture of prosecutors unwilling or unable to weigh what charges to pursue against a defendant, something which you have instructed federal prosecutors is 'among [their] most fundamental duties,
Swartz was referred to as a
brilliant technologist and activist
in the letter to Holder.
There is no doubt that Swartz left a permanent mark on internet culture. When he was still in his teens he assisted in developing the popular RSS software that allows people to sign up to receive updates from blogs and news sites. Swartz co-founded the social news site Reddit, and pioneered in the fight against internet censorship by co-founding Demand Progress.
Activists associated with the Anonymous collective have not forgotten about Aaron Swartz either, and staged a hack of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) website on the one-year anniversary of his death.
Swartz was facing prosecution by the federal government for downloading millions of academic journals from JSTOR through MIT’s network. He was facing up to 35 years in prison for the act.
With permission by Reuters / Noah Berger
Aaron Swartz, Internet activist and programmer played a key role in stopping a controversial online piracy bill in Congress, has died at age 26, an apparent suicide, New York authorities said January 13, 2013