Aaron Swartz

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The web feed format RSS, the publishing format Markdown, the website framework web.py, and one of the co-founders of the social news site Reddit were among the groundbreaking projects created by American computer programmer and entrepreneur Aaron Hillel Swartz. In addition, he was given the distinction of co-founding Not A Bug, Inc. once the company was established in 2005. He was also a well-known author, political activist, and hacktivist, with much of his work centered on raising public awareness and engaging in successful internet activism. After downloading scholarly journal articles from JSTOR using his MIT guest user account, Swartz was detained in 2011 and charged with state breaking-and-entering. He was facing a total of 50 years in prison and a $1 million punishment after being charged with two charges of wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Swartz and his legal team came up with a counteroffer when the government offered a plea deal that would have sentenced him to six months in federal prison, but it was turned down. His body was found two days after he hanged himself in his Brooklyn residence. Swartz has been attributed with creating the internet as it is today because he advocated for an unrestricted, open, and free internet.

Early Childhood & Life

Susan and Robert Swartz welcomed Aaron Swartz into the world on November 8, 1986, in Highland Park, an Illinois suburb of Chicago. Noah and Benjamin were two of his brothers. His parents are both Jews. His father founded the Chicago-based software company Mark Williams Company and is also an entrepreneur.
Swartz was a talented child who showed great promise at a young age. The majority of his time was spent studying computer science, programming, the internet, and online culture.

Up to the ninth grade, he attended North Shore Country Day School, a tiny private school close to Chicago. He graduated from high school the following year and started taking a number of computer-related courses in the Chicago area.

At the age of 13, Swartz received the ArsDigita Prize. Young individuals who created “useful, educational, and collaborative” non-commercial websites in the past were eligible for the award. He joined the working group that created the RSS 1.0 web syndication definition in December 2000 the following year.

Career of Aaron Swartz

Swartz applied to work on the first Summer Founders Program of Y Combinator, a start-up called Infogami, which would be developed as a flexible content management system to construct rich and visually appealing websites or a kind of wiki for structured data after being accepted to Stanford University. Over the duration of the 2005 summer, Swartz worked with Simon Carstensen, a co-founder of Infogami.

He started regularly blogging during this time. His articles addressed a variety of subjects, such as his time at Stanford, his involvement in the development of Creative Commons, and copyright law.

In 2006, he made the decision not to go back to Stanford and kept working at Infogami. He developed web.py, a Python web application framework, while he was still employed by the company since he had grown tired of other Python-based systems.
He joined the founders of Reddit, a different startup from Y-Combinator, in the early fall of 2005 to assist them in writing its Lisp codebase using Python and web.py. Despite the fact that Infogami was discontinued after Cond√© Nast Publications, the publisher of Wired magazine, purchased Not a Bug, its software was used to power the Internet Archive’s Open Library initiative.

After Infogami was unable to obtain additional finance, Reddit and Infogami merged in November 2005. Not a Bug was founded in that year and promoted both goods. Despite the fact that both projects struggled as first, Reddit quickly gained more popularity.

Swartz had to move his entire business to San Francisco after Wired acquired Not a Bug, where he started working at Wired’s main office. He eventually departed from the company after realizing that office life was not for him.
Together with Carstensen, Swartz founded the company Jottit. They were making yet another attempt to create a markdown-driven content management system using Python.

Aaron Swartz: Program Developer

In 2001, Swartz wrote the RFC 3870, Application/RDF+XML Media Type Registration, while working for the RDFCore working group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The document provides a description of a brand-new form of media called “RDF/XML” that was created to power the Semantic Web.

Swartz was the author of Markdown’s html2text converter and one of the main contributors to Markdown, a lightweight markup language with a plain text formatting grammar designed to be quickly converted to HTML and other forms by using a tool of the same name. Swartz created the atx language in 2002 and used it to create Markdown’s syntax.

Swartz had acquired the entire bibliographic dataset from the Library of Congress somewhere around 2006, but it wasn’t known until after his passing. Although there were typically payments associated with accessing the data, copyright rules in the US did not prohibit its use because it was a government document. Swartz then posted the information on Open Library, thereby making it freely accessible to everyone.

Later on, the Copyright Office gave its approval. Some reports claim that the material was uploaded to the internet archive by the Scriblio library system at Plymouth State University. Despite this, Swartz’s file served as Open Library’s starting point.
Virgil Griffith and he worked together to create Tor2web, an HTTP proxy for Tor-hidden services. It acts as a bridge between standard web browsers and Tor.

DeadDrop was developed and put into use by Swartz in collaboration with James Dolan and Kevin Poulsen. The system provides a way to send electronic documents to anonymous sources without the risk of revelation. It is named after the espionage tradecraft technique used to transmit goods or information between two people utilizing a secret location.The software’s first instance, known as Strongbox, was first made public by The New Yorker, a publication. Since then, the system has been managed by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and its name has been changed once more to SecureDrop.

In 2008, activist Aaron Swartz launched Watchdog.net. The website was developed to gather and foresee information on politicians. It concentrated mainly on the various funding sources used by different politicians.

Swartz co-founded the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in 2009 to further his education on effective advocacy. Together with the committee, he organized his first act of activity. They gathered thousands of signatures on a petition asking for a senator to be nominated who would vote in favor of health care reform, fulfilling Senator Ted Kennedy’s final desire.

‘Demand Progress’ was founded in 2010 with assistance from Swartz. It is a political advocacy group that works to educate the public about issues such as government reform, civil liberties, and various other topics. Additionally, it encourages citizens to contact public authorities and support pressure techniques online.

Swartz was a well-known figure in the “prevent passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) campaign.” Although the measure was intended to reduce online copyright infringement, some argued that it would have made it simpler for the government to close any websites is believed to be infringing copyrights and would have placed an unreasonably heavy load on internet service providers. The bill ultimately failed to pass.

Swartz opened up 2.7 million federal court records kept in PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) to the general public in 2008. The FBI then opened an investigation into him, but after realizing the records were already in the public domain, they opted against filing any charges.

Detention & Trial of Aaron Swartz

According to federal authorities, Swartz downloaded a sizable number of scholarly journal articles from MIT’s computer network in late 2010 and early 2011. He made advantage of the online library JSTOR.

Additionally, according to the police, Swartz connected to a networking switch in an MIT controlled-access wire closet using a laptop. The download was promptly terminated after Swartz was identified thanks to a camera that had been installed in the room.

On the evening of January 6, 2011, Swartz was detained on suspicion of breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony. He was charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, acquiring information from a protected computer without authorization, and willfully causing damage to a protected computer by a federal grand jury on November 17, 2011.

He was indicted on state charges of breaking and entering with intent, grand larceny, and unauthorized access to a computer network by a Middlesex County Superior Court grand jury on November 17, 2011. The state accusations, though, were later withdrawn.

On September 12, 2012, nine additional felony charges were added, putting Swartz’s sentence at 50 years and a fine of $1 million. He was given the option to admit guilt to 13 federal offenses in exchange for a six-month sentence in a minimum-security facility. Swartz turned down the proposal. Widespread criticism was directed towards the federal prosecution for being overly aggressive.

Awards of Aaron Swartz

2013 saw the posthumous induction of Swartz into the Internet Hall of Fame.
The 2013 James Madison Award from the American Library Association was given to him posthumously.
In 2013, he received the EFF Pioneer Award posthumously.

Individual Life of Aaron Swartz

Up until his passing, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, an Australian-American progressive activist, was Aaron Swartz’s partner. Stinebrickner-Kauffman found his death in his Brooklyn residence that evening on January 11, 2013. Later, a spokesperson for the New York Medical Examiner informed the reporters that Swartz had hanged himself. No suicide note was present.

In their tribute to him on his memorial website, his family and Stinebrickner-Kauffman write, “He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place.”

After his passing, Swartz was lauded as “an online icon” and his trial was criticized for being overly aggressive and selective in its prosecution. His life has been the subject of several documentaries, notably the 2014 film “Killswitch.” A biographical movie named “Patriot of the Web” is scheduled for release on Amazon in the latter part of 2018.

At the English Wikipedia, Trivia Swartz was a well-known and engaged editor.

Aaron Swartz’s Net Worth

Aaron Swartz is ranked as one of the most well-known and wealthy computer programmers. Our investigation of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider revealed that Aaron Swartz has a net worth of $5 million.