“The tragic and heartbreaking information you
received is, regrettably, true,” confirmed Swartz’ attorney, Elliot R.
Peters of Kecker and Van Nest, in an email to The Tech.
Swartz was indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly downloading millions of documents from JSTOR through the MIT network — using a laptop hidden in a basement network
closet in MIT’s Building 16 — with the intent to distribute them. Swartz
subsequently moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he then worked for
Avaaz Foundation, a nonprofit “global web movement to bring
people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.” Swartz appeared
in court on Sept. 24, 2012 and pleaded not guilty.
The accomplished Swartz co-authored the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification at age 14, founded Infogami which
later merged with the popular social news site Reddit, and completed a
fellowship at Harvard’s Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption.
In 2010, he founded DemandProgress.org, a “campaign against the Internet censorship bills SOPA/PIPA.”