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Story of Aaron Swartz and his open library

Story of Aaron Swartz and his open library

On January 11, 2013, 26-year-old Aaron Swartz was found dead in his apartment in Brooklyn, New York. It is said that he took his own life under the pressure of the trial to which he was being subjected: if he was found guilty of the thirteen charges against him, he would be imprisoned for up to 50 years.

Swartz developed a script (computer program) that enabled him to download 4.6 million scholarly and scientific papers, reviews, and publications from the Journal Storage (JSTOR) website, an online archiving system for academic and university journals accessed by subscription. Swartz is not only accused of downloading the content, but they feared that he would try to share it on the Internet for free.

He is unknown to the Bolivarian revolution. But he was a fighter who sought that all that knowledge that academics and researchers do, that remains repressed in the walls of the great universities or is restricted in “papers” of academic research journals, can be available so that millions of scientists and entrepreneurs from everyone can put science and technology at the service of the people and not of the large transnational.

Who was Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz was born in Highland Park Chicago, the son of a Jewish family. He was the eldest son of Susan and Robert Swartz and the brother of Noah and Ben Swartz. His father founded the software company Mark Williams Company. At a young age, Swartz became immersed in the study of computers, programming, the Internet, and Internet culture. He attended North Shore Country Day School, a small private school near Chicago, through ninth grade, when he dropped out of high school and enrolled in courses at Lake Forest College.

In 1999, at the age of 12, he created The Info Network website, a user-generated encyclopedia. The site won the ArsDigita award, given to young people who create “useful, educational and collaborative” non-commercial websites and led to early recognition of Swartz’s nascent talent in coding. At age 14, he became a member of the working group that created the RSS 1.0 web syndication specification. In 2005, he enrolled at Stanford University but dropped out after his freshman year.

Aaron Swartz story and open library

Aaron H. Swartz, programmer, writer, and Internet activist, committed suicide back in 2013 in New York. His contributions to the network were numerous, including a file format that allows indexing and sharing web content (RSS), the free software program Reddit (portal where users create their own thematic agenda) and the open source initiative Open Library (collaborative and free access database). But his activism went further. He founded the activist organization Demand Progress, against restrictions on free access to the Internet such as the SOPA legislative project, and participated in the Rootstrikers (political anti-corruption) and Avaaz (pro-human rights) organizations.

He and his colleagues started a digital library in 2007openlibrary with the goal of becoming an open catalogue of all works that have ever been published.

He defended free access to culture and denounced what he considered unfair legislation: “There is no justice in following unfair laws. It is time to come out and, in the great tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to private theft of everyone’s culture”, he wrote in the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto (2008). He acted accordingly. In 2008, as part of a campaign for the release of copyright-free public files, he downloaded and released one-fifth of the PACER database, which contains publicly accessible — but not free — documents from US federal courts.

Swartz’s work also focused on civic awareness and activism. He helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in 2009 to learn more about effective online activism. In 2010, he became a researcher at Harvard University’s Safra Research Laboratory on Institutional Corruption, led by Lawrence Lessig. He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Arrested in 2011

In 2011, Swartz was arrested by Massachusetts Institute of Technology police on statewide burglary charges after connecting a computer to the MIT network in an unmarked, unlocked cabinet and setting it up to systematically download academic journal articles. from JSTOR using a guest user account issued by MIT. Federal prosecutors subsequently charged him with two counts of wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act with a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution, and supervised release.

He was investigated by the FBI, but the case was closed without charges. Between 2010 and 2011, he downloaded about 4.5 million scholarly articles from the JSTOR database, which he had access to through Harvard University and MIT. The Technological Institute treated the downloads as a computer crime and with the help of the police and through hidden cameras and surveillance security systems, they went after him.

He was arrested and a federal court prosecutor charged him ex officio with various crimes including wire fraud, computer fraud, illegal obtaining of information from a protected computer and reckless damage to a protected computer. He was asked for 35 years in prison and the payment of a fine of one million dollars for it.

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