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Aaron, 5 years later (bensw.com)
1009 points by bensw on Jan 13, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 109 comments

A touching note from Zephyr Teachout:

"I miss Aaron Swartz. He died 5 years ago today. He was a friend and a rare, huge, soul, and oh did he ever believe in freedom and the possibilities of the future. Wish you were still on call for late night IM strategy sessions, or philosophy, dear friend. I think of you." https://twitter.com/ZephyrTeachout/status/951538523076792320

I also appreciate this thought from a fellow HN poster: "'They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.' That was not even close to the ending of Aaron Swartz." https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11719398

Similarly, Lessig:

"Five years ago, we lost Aaron Swartz. None should rest, for still, there is no peace."


And Arron's mum:

"RIP my darling boy. It's been 5 years. If you do one thing today, honor Aaron's memory by calling your Senators and Representatives in Congress and begging them to support #Aaron'sLaw to reform the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act)."


I still mourn for what we lost. Aaron was only at the start, and he'd already done so much.

The quote about death seems very similar to David Eagleman's book "Forty Tales from the Afterlives".

Here's an excerpt that you might find interesting: http://www.eagleman.com/sum/excerpt

It is also a way of thinking about death prevalent in Jewish culture.

Indeed! It's why many Jews choose to name children after deceased relatives to honor and remember them.

Also a similar quote by Irving Yalom:

"Some day soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me. That's when I will be truly dead - when I exist in no one's memory. I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people. When that person dies, the whole cluster dies, too, vanishes from the living memory. I wonder who that person will be for me. Whose death will make me truly dead?"


"Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations." - Aaron

I think about his quote quite a bit lately. I wonder what he would have thought about modern facebook, google, and the extreme consolidation of american corporations.

Have you ever had the feeling like "Uhm, I better not share this article even though I like it" or "I'm curious about a topic but I better not google it" or "I shouldn't have these files on my machine for somebody could find them".

These thoughts often come out of social pressure to conform, an invisible ever-present behaviour regulation, that we never explicitly agreed upon.

Social pressure is harmful to minorities, which is a problem, because we develop by minorities becoming the majorities.

Feeling watched builds up social pressure immensely.

Google and Facebook multiply social pressure, because watching is a fundamental and essential part of their business.

I think Aaron would've been happy with the developments in the field of scientific publishing over the last half decade, had he been able to see them. I've specifically got Sci-Hub in mind here. Sure, it's not exactly legal, but everyone uses it regardless.

I think Aaron had more than a little to do with those changes. I'm certain he inspired many within the academic world to think about where and how they published in ways they may not have in the past and helped trigger the pushback from public organizations that sponsor research in recent years. And, there have been numerous technical runs at the problem that were very likely inspired by Aaron's work.

It's getting better, but not by accident. People like Aaron made it get better.

It's too bad Aaron and Alexandra Elbakyan never met. They might have made a good team.

She's currently in hiding after Elsevier won an injunction. There's one company I'll be very happy to see the last of.

I still don't see why all the scientific paper publishing stuff is allowed to work in the way that it does. I mean, don't a large % of the people doing that research use funding from government grants? If public money was used to produce the research, then the public should have free and available access to it -- we already paid for it.

Ostensibly you are not paying Elsevier to access the research, you are paying them because they obtained the right to copy the paper.

That's the loophole that many of the writers use to publish pre-prints from their own homepages. That did not stop the publishers from suing them:


Is the right to copy the paper an agreement between universities and the publisher? If so, can't the universities just give a middle finger to the publisher, cancel those rights and allow the research to be publicized for free, in the interest of furthering research, or is money that they get from the publisher that significant?

No, it's an agreement between researchers and the publishers, and the researchers feel dependent on the publisher for their careers (publishing in "high impact" journals is good for it), so they often blindly accept whichever terms the publisher shoves down their throats.

And no, no real money from the publisher is involved.

I'm not an expert in this area, but I'm pretty sure they get no money at all from the publishers. Other way around in fact: their libraries spend large fraction of budget subscribing to the journals.

Plus a one-time fee for every paper they publish. Whith the option to pay more and make it open access. And then the library of the same university will still pay to access this article.

Public need doesn't always align with individuals incentives.

Public wants new high-quality, available knowledge. Individual researcher are incentivized to publish often and in high impact journals. This in turn leads to both lower quality research (see replication crisis) and preservation of status quo in publishing.

It's not so much allowed to as well as that it's hard to change (although there's a lot of attempts to). A long-read on how it got this way at [1], and a shorter summary of why it won't change at [2] (which I wrote).

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/27/profitable-b...

[2] https://medium.com/flockademic/the-vicious-cycle-of-scholarl...

Well, "in hiding" doesn't mean that much, I think. She's originally from Kazakhstan or Russia and, thus, can't really be touched by US court rulings. She probably shouldn't visit the US or many other countries, but otherwise probably hasn't had to change her lifestyle that much.

They won't because they have widely different worldviews. For one, Aaron believed in freedom, while Alexandra did it literally for the glory of Motherland. Please don't buy into the simplistic narrative pushed by most Western outlets, Alexandra is Putin's fan who vehemently represses any discerning voice on platforms she controls. Like, a few months back she outright banned Russian IPs from accessing sci-hub over what she perceived as a personal insult [1]. This is very, very different from what I know about Aaron.

Tangential: the way she's covered by Western media is such a crying shame.

[1]: https://medium.com/@alexandraborissova/sci-hub-banned-in-rus...

The Egyptian and Babylonian religions of antiquity were dedicated to maintaining the status quo and they did so for centuries. They did this by carefully guarding who was allowed to have access to sacred knowledge to control who had power in their hierarchical societies.

Those with access to specialized knowledge had to be limited in number and properly initiated. Unfortunately, it seems like this pattern of social organization in which knowledge is jelously guarded and only available to the vetted privileged few is a very durable pattern in the organization of human civilizations.

"Beware he who would deny you information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."

That comparison only holds if you consider those attending cheap state school on student loans as "the vetted privileged few".

Not to mention, even at the state schools, we just download the PDFs off Google Scholar because searching the databases is annoying. Nothings's really changed other than rhetoric.

I'm just saying that Aaron in that quote is describing a very old civilizational anti-pattern. Obviously, things are a lot better than they were, especially after the invention of the printing press and the Internet.

There is also a lot of information, such as how to make rockets capable of reaching orbit, that is covered by ITAR that is still jealously guarded knowledge available only to the initiated few.

Code as well, the other day I couldn't access code that was stored in Github because it was down. There was no mirror of it. The entire point of Git is that it's supposed to be decentralized and now we're even forgetting that.

Git !=== GitHub.

I didn't know Aaron, I don't remember being that aware of him while he was alive, but I did see the SOPA campaign of course, even in the UK. One day I watched the 'Internets own boy' documentary and was profoundly moved. All of a sudden open source, access to information, freedom from surveillance etc really started to matter to me. In fact that is how I found HN!

When the snoopers charter came in to the UK it was Aarons story (and what I read afterwards) that made me recognise the danger in such legislation. I wrote to my MP for the first time.

Aaron in lots of ways changed my life in that way. Ben I really appreciate your post.

Hard to respond to this. Hard to believe it has already been five years.

Thank you for writing that, not a week goes by that I don't see your brothers hand in something I'm using or that I read about. The whole open access movement and what has been achieved in those five years would have made Aaron both very happy and would have probably had him bouncing off the walls because 'it goes so slow'.

Very few people appear to me to be all good but your brother was one of those. Cherish his memory and be proud, like any brother would be, and I'm pretty sure he'd be just as proud of you.

We should also celebrate people's flaws. There's no such thing as an entirely good person.

Aaron had mental issues. But those same issues were what gave him strength, because they were a part of him. If you took them away, Aaron wouldn't be Aaron.

If we celebrate people's flaws, maybe people won't feel like they're not allowed to have flaws. And maybe that might help people who feel like ending it.


The response to that was overwhelmingly positive. Over 20 people reached out.

It feels time to help people who are concealing problems. The internet gives us recourse. I don't know Aaron's motivations toward the end, but it feels true that if he had just kept talking, things might have turned out differently.

Mental issues are flaws but they don't make a person bad in my book.

Mm, yes and no. It's one of those things where if you reveal you have them, you feel like less of a person. People look at you differently.

Be honest: If you were in a position of authority, would you place someone with known suicidal tendencies in a position of power? What if things went very badly? How about someone with outbursts of anger, or serious sleep issues that prevent them from showing up to work on time?

When people feel pressure to conceal their problems, the pressure builds.

Aaron had some political aspirations, and a felony conviction would've precluded him from running for certain offices. Maybe that, combined with his internal issues, may have made him feel like less of a person. I don't know. I just want people to feel okay with themselves, however they are.

Once people realize that it's genuinely ok to have issues, hopefully society will relax a bit.

Or maybe there is no solution, and people will eventually take their own lives for one reason or another. And that's ok too. We can remind them that it's not the only option, and give them some space to unwind.

That seems like the crux of it: People are so hung up on doing well or being a good person or accomplishing their careers, that their whole self-worth is tied up in it. When it goes badly, it's easy to take it out on yourself. But there's no reason to. The chips fall wherever they fall.

> Aaron had some political aspirations, and a felony conviction would've precluded him from running for certain offices. Maybe that, combined with his internal issues, may have made him feel like less of a person. I don't know.

If you don't know then don't speculate.

I agree.


> Speculation is all we can do, if we're serious about trying to prevent this in the future.

No no, if you want to prevent suicide you should avoid specualting on what went on in a person's mind.

Suicide is a complex phenomena, and it's wrong to boil it down to one or two things.

For what it's worth, I partly agree. It just seems important to try to help whatever is going on.

Most people don't try, you know? It can be really hard for people who have stuff going on to find any kind of support.

And you'd think it'd be the opposite: family, friends, counsellors. Yet for some reason, people tend to eschew them during dark times. There's something worth exploring there, and I want to help somehow.

A decent example: https://www.reddit.com/r/TwoXChromosomes/comments/7q9eu0/my_...

In that case, it was trauma that almost led to suicide. But it was intensely private and humiliating. Of course she wasn't going to talk to her father about it.

If only there were a service for people in that situation to get real help, on demand. There are suicide hotlines, but many people are far more comfortable expressing themselves via keyboard.

You don’t want to talk about suicidal thoughts. If you do that, then you will get locked up and not treated like a person. In Australia, the medical profession who are meant to help people with suicidal thoughts are the very last people you should speak to.

I speak from personal experience.

That's why I want to help. I want to be someone that people can speak to.

That goes for you, too. If you ever find yourself in a dark place again, contact me. I'll listen.

Agreed. I have been very close to suicide on a few occasions, and I’m sure they were for different reasons than Aaron.

The potential consequence of being unfairly persecuted is that you can completely separate your perception of yourself and anyone else's.

The individuals that did this to Aaron are the ones suffering from a mental condition. The transitory struggles of life and emotions are universal and fundamental to living. Systems that embolden constructs like federal prosecutors are what is systemically flawed. Not the individual.

Carl Jung said something interesting about the importance of the ego:

"It was only after the illness that I understood how important it is to affirm one’s own destiny.

In this way we forge an ego that does not break down when incomprehensible things happen; an ego that endures, that endures the truth, and that is capable of coping with the world and with fate...

Nothing is disturbed – neither inwardly nor outwardly, for one’s own continuity has withstood the current of life and of time.”

As someone who has had suicidal tendencies in the past, and suffered as a direct result, yeah - I would give Aaron positions of power and responsibility.

Ortiz continued to pursue the case, comparing Swartz’s transgression to that of a common thief. The lead prosecutor on the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann, compared Swartz to a rapist who had “revictimized” MIT by not taking a plea bargain, according to a later MIT investigation. Heymann was also bothered that Swartz launched a “wild Internet campaign” in his own defense. (He had not done so.)


Swartz’s attorney Elliot Peters accused Massachusetts assistant U.S. attorney Stephen Heymann of pursuing federal charges against Swartz to gain publicity.

Heymann was looking for “some juicy looking computer crime cases and Aaron’s case, sadly for Aaron, fit the bill,” Peters said. Heymann, Peters believes, thought the Swartz case “was going to receive press and he was going to be a tough guy and read his name in the newspaper.”

Heymann, the deputy chief of the criminal division in the Boston-based U.S. Attorney’s office, also headed the computer crimes task force there, a position Peters said “doesn’t carry much prestige and respect unless you have computer crimes cases.”


MIT’s behavior throughout the case was reprehensible, and this report is quite frankly a whitewash.

Here are the facts: This report claims that MIT was “neutral” – but MIT’s lawyers gave prosecutors total access to witnesses and evidence, while refusing access to Aaron’s lawyers to the exact same witnesses and evidence. That’s not neutral. The fact is that all MIT had to do was say publicly, “We don’t want this prosecution to go forward” – and Steve Heymann and Carmen Ortiz would have had no case. We have an institution to contrast MIT with – JSTOR, who came out immediately and publicly against the prosecution. Aaron would be alive today if MIT had acted as JSTOR did. MIT had a moral imperative to do so.


I hope Carmen Ortiz will one day be held responsible for her actions.


I'm sure on HN there are both alumni of MIT hit up for donations as well as high school students considering applying, who could bring this into consideration.

If you haven’t watched “The Internet’s Own Boy”, [1] I’d recommend that you do. If you think about freedom, privacy, surveillance, abuse of power and related things, this will make you both sad and angry. We cannot truly have a better world without fighting for these and keep the struggles alive, because the powerful ones are good at retaining their power and at finding ways to keep people’s memories brief.

I’m glad that Sci-Hub exists. Though I’m not in research as such, it’s a painful exercise to find relevant information that’s useful and goes into some detail. I struggle with getting full papers from PubMed sometimes.

[1]: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Internet%27s_Own_Boy

I have nothing constructive to say except for that I was really touched by "The Internet's Own Boy". It made me feel related to something I did not experience.

I think memories about unnecessary sad events like Aaron's death help us think about the significance of more profound, thoughtful analysis of problems at hand, that have direct impact on human beings.

His crime was scraping a website. The accusers killed an innocent man for violating Terms of Service. Who's the real criminal here?


How they treated Aaron was criminal, but let's do it justice by not using hyperbole.

This wasn't a public website. He connected to a networking switch in a controlled wiring closet with his laptop, and scraped information to non public servers from there.

Did this deserve the response he got though, absolutely not.

The prosecutors were in the wrong, but they did not kill him.

They wanted to throw him in a federal prison for 50 years. How is that not robbing someone of their life?

It was around 7 years, and that only if it went to trail and basically everything at the trial when the prosecutor's way [1]. If the plea bargain had been accepted it would have been around 6 months.

Here's a good article on how those ridiculously long, completely unrealistic, sentence claims come about so often for Federal cases [2].

[1] http://volokh.com/2013/01/16/the-criminal-charges-against-aa...

[2] https://www.popehat.com/2013/02/05/crime-whale-sushi-sentenc...

>If the plea bargain had been accepted it would have been around 6 months.

I always love how people think the prision term is the only effect or punishment, 6 mos + a felony record for life which is not something that should be taken lightly.

Any felony conviction is a life sentence, you are a 2nd class citizen, you are denied everything from housing to employment, you are denied your rights as a citizen, can not vote, can not own a gun, can not do many things.

This moronic idea of "well it was really only 6mos" is bullshit.

Aaron robbed them of their prestige, that I think was his point. A big fuck you. You're not going to use me as your "example" of why you're such a fucking big shot. MIT failed us all and the powers that be are never going to apologize until apology is the only way to get elected.

Still as a minimum we should make sure it never gets another position in power.

"I convinced Google to allow me to give their USENET archives to the Internet Archive."

Thank you.

I also thought this was interesting, but I don't see what this is referring to. Google has bought the DejaNews archive https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Groups and I haven't find any reference of the fact that they would have given it to Internet Archive, neither on the wikipedia article nor on places where it could have been mentioned like https://www.archiveteam.org/index.php/Usenet or https://archive.org/details/usenet. Does anyone know what this implies?

https://archive.is/PUk3 <--- This posting describes the different collections that Google acquired or received. Is there irony in that one needs archive.is (archive.today) to access it? Maybe someone can find the original still accessible?

http://web.archive.org/web/20110110080509/http://www.skrenta... <--- This is the collection I am most interested in. 1981-1991. Thankfully, one does not need Google to get it.

UT Zoo is indexed on my usenet site: http://www.dejadejadeja.com/

https://archive.org/details/usenethistorical appears to be from Google Groups. Its description is lacking, but it contains headers like:

    X-Google-Thread: fca3818fe8,c285ccf93b10248a
    X-Google-Attributes: gidfca3818fe8,public,usenet

I'd also be keen to know. I had assumed it was https://archive.org/details/usenethistorical .. which is pretty good, but I just discovered comp.lang.javascript only goes back to 2001 there, so my posts from the 90s are not to be found :) Other groups do go back to the mid 90s, however.

A very moving story. To pick up your life and start living again is not easy.

Importantly, to become relaxed and happy again without the feeling to have to become more and more productive or create legacy for ourselves or the ones we love is yet another even more difficult step.

There are very few self-help methods that do not have as Target to "improve yourself". Take your time and remember the good times of the past. These times are never wasted.

> Importantly, to become relaxed and happy again without the feeling to have to become more and more productive or create legacy for ourselves or the ones we love is yet another even more difficult step.

I still deal with this problem daily, I never feel that I'm good enough for my family to be happy for me.

Ben, every point I've been lucky enough to witness you argue at Twitch has alway shone this Neutral Good seed behind it. Unjustified process, user-harmful acts, and any worsening of free speech cause you to interject, never to "wait and see" forever and never to disagree without speaking up.

I honestly have become better at this skill by being nearby when you exercise it. And I believe I have spread that to others in my life in turn. I absolutely would be a different person had our desks not happen to end up across from each other through three office shuffles. And I never met Aaron, but I believe by influencing those around you in this way you've done so much more to honor him than the two big ticket items you give yourself credit for.

Thanks for everything you've done since, and everything he was proud of you for before. Aaron Swartz was a rolemodel for me when I was really starting to understand the internet and the value it provided beyond chatting with friends and playing games.

When I heard what happened I was angry more than anything, and it reminded me to not take progress for granted.

I hesitate to bring this up because it'll probably sound more like criticism than a heads up, and I definitely mean it just as a heads up:

It was very jarring to get to the end of the post and have it followed up by "You should follow me on Twitter." I checked another post and it looks like it's just the footer on the blog, but without that knowledge it jumps out at you.

Don't let your loss or grief manifest itself as guilt, because you have nothing to feel guilty about. Feel the loss, but don't blame yourself, or the victim.

And don't feel like you have to live up to the image of someone else. Don't give yourself expectations on account of someone else. Set your own goals and expectations, from a place of self-compassion. And just like a good parent should never be hard on their child for failing to complete a project, neither should you be hard on yourself.

I'm sure none of that is helpful right now. But the next time you feel pressure or guilt rising up: Gently let it go. You don't owe anyone your peace of mind.

I didn't personally know Aaron but I've read a lot of his blog posts and I was extremely sad to hear about his passing.

His blog posts are filled with a lot of information, insights, and thoughts that I usually don't get from other people. Whenever I go back and read his posts, they sound like a friend of mine talking to me.

RIP. Glad to see at least Carmen Ortis [1] is out so she won't hurt anyone anymore with the long stretch of government arm she used as a overzealous prosecutor.

Fun fact: For a little while she wanted to run for Governor of Massachusetts (good grief!), but the past of butchered prosecution of Mr. Swartz hunted her and she changes her mind.


Sci-hub and Library Genesis take a decent amount of inspiration from Aaron Swartz mission.

I lived in Highland Park when he committed suicide and attended the same high school he did(NSCDS). NSCDS talked a lot about Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. They also talked a lot also about Gandhi and other activists. It is a day school so they have an alternative form of teaching. I feel comfort saying this influenced his decisions for later in his life.

Good education is so important. Some high profile hackers such as Alan Kay have spent a lot of effort on tools for education and for children. We should all take a leaf out of his book and try to dedicate some resources to assist with free online public education and related technologies for the benefit of subsequent generations.

You're a good man, Ben. Always a privilege to share diner tables with you in Seattle. Happy to do it again if you're around.

Sometimes it’s the life in the years rather than the years in the life. Amazing impact although bright career cut short tragically.

I hope the Massachusetts based AG who prosecuted him rots in hell.

Just in case it ever comes to this, if I die, it was NOT a suicide.

RIP Aaron, I wish I knew you.

I don't consider Aaron's death a suicide, either. It was not exactly a Magnitsky-style beaten-in-prison death, but overly-zealous prosecutors trying to "make an example" of him had more to do with his death than mental illness.

Note what happened, in that context, when someone who was not an American political activist did what criminal prosecutors were going after Aaron for:


The scihub woman isn't doing any of the thing Swartz was being prosecuted for. All she's doing is copyright infringement.

This is a reasonable statement to want to make, but (with a vanishingly small number of exceptions), suicide is not a choice. It's the result of depression combined with loss of inhibition (due to stress, chemical imbalance, or other factors). Your rational state of mind now has no bearing on whether you are capable of taking your own life under certain circumstances.

I'm sorry, but then nothing is a choice. This may technically be true, but it's no way to think.

If you guys are interested in going down that rabbit hole, I highly recommend Robert Sapolsky's Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst.

Although I confess I have only read the first chapter or so, the book sets out to convince its readers that many of the things that can go wrong in the human brain ought not to be thought of as bad choices so much as automobiles in need of a part replacement (this metaphor rings true today in the case of, say, depression, which can often be remedied with pharmaceuticals). This may sound rather weak (especially from the point of a prosecutor [1]), but when looking at the details, it starts to make sense in a lot of cases.

For example: in the middle ages, what do you think people thought schizophrenia was?

[1] http://www.radiolab.org/story/revising-fault-line/

Now we’re completely off topic, but I want to reply to this :)

I think of it like this. Perhaps every decision you make is /almost/ entirely determined by your current biological state and a long string of preconditions beyond your control. But… there is a sliver of freewill on top of this. And /with/ that sliver, you can choose to make incremental changes to your personal beliefs which molds your perception. By doing this, you essentially alter your biological state in a small way. This effect is cumulative, so you eventually start making different decisions than you would have, which changes your environment, and thus further changes the preconditions of your future. In this way, I believe freewill itself is cumulative. You are born with almost none, but you can develop it incrementally with effort.

Probably the most interesting answer I could have imagined to this, and from what I gather from Sapolsky's book that I've thus far read, pretty much in the opposite direction of his thesis in the book. But to my eyes just as convincing.

> I'm sorry, but then nothing is a choice.

No, this is a generalization. Without getting into a discussion on determinism you can call a "choice" a decision that a person is able to ponder, discuss, explain.

People can be temporarily pushed out of the ability to make rational decisions in many ways. Examples abound.

>Examples abound.

Correction: Examples infinite. If you're going to venture anywhere outside the realm of split-second fight-or-flight behavior such as with drug addiction or suicide, then you can rationalize anything as out of your control. You can also choose to take responsibility for your own actions; and let others take responsibility for theirs, rather than trying to rationalize away their agency, or yours.

this is mainly to prevent people from killing me and making my death look like a suicide...

I first read this not knowing it was Aaron Swartz. When I read the comments and found out it was instantly heart dropping. I found Aaron to have fought very tough battles for humanity. I tried to get commission on doing an art installation on a side of an old university building. There was 5 wall sections where I want to place 5 inspirational famous people in B&W portrait format.

The 5 people were: Elon Musk Neil deGrasse Tyson / Brian Cox (couldn't decide!) Angelina Jolie Malala Yousafzai Aaron Schwartz

I made a proposal to my university (Dundee, Scotland), and really thought I had a chance since the building was derelict and that it was covered in shite graffiti. I was turned down because it was going to be torn down. People said I should have just done it, but I couldn't face the possibility of getting kicked out of uni because I graffitied the building.

I'd like to wonder what Aaron would be doing right now with Net Neutrality. He'd be at the forefront of all of these things against the Trump administration. He's the hero we need, that we deserve, but have tragically lost. RIP

That link leads to a page with only this on it:

> certificate error

> A client certificate was invalid or not provided.

The scariest thing to me is how fast people forget.

Some days it's hard to believe he's really gone.

i had no idea he was your brother. sorry for your loss.

Just like everyone here Aaron has had a huge impact on my life. I don't have much to say here, just hope you're doing well.

What did SOPA have to do with Net Neutrality?

Doesn't take too big of a stretch to see the connection.

No net neutrality: Big companies will be able to afford paying to ISPs to get into "fast lanes", smaller companies will not.

SOPA: Big companies will be able to afford scanning user generated content for piracy, smaller companies will not.

End result is pretty much the same.

I dont see that connection at all.

In fact, it is the 'benevolent' government that has abused surveillance, tried to corruptly enable large companies to censor the internet under the guise of 'anti-piracy' (SOPA), and pushed Aaron to suicide through prosecutorial overreach which Net Neutrality proponents want to grant more control over the ISPs over fear-mongering (like piracy) of prices/throttling. (despite the obvious failures of government-enabled regional monopolies)

So you think Aaron would be against net neutrality?

RIP Aaron. You had a profound influence on my life, and I'm sad we never got to meet.

To clarify for anybody who may not know, "Aaron" in this blog post is Aaron Swartz. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz


Please do not be so insensitive on HN, or in other forums. This is an actual person that took his life and you never know who ends up reading your comment.

Or he could mean what he says.

If you think about suicide and are not just trolling, then don't. Just dont please and rather seek help.

For those unfamiliar with him, feature length documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vz06QO3UkQ

I really like this piece, but your font size is WAY too small, especially on mobile.

Carmen Ortiz is still in office. Now that is a tragedy.

She apparently resigned after Trump won. That she wasn't run out of office is a tragedy.


He did not die for a good reason.

Think the parent might have meant "good cause."

I'm not sure if Aaron really took his own life or not, and I don't want to say anything insensitive, but I'll share a thought I remember having around the time of his death, which was that if he did kill himself, he was acting out of concern for the greater good -- in that by killing himself, he escaped being "made an example of" by the prosecution, and instead made the prosecution look extremely heavy-handed, and even guilty themselves. The hope would have been that for other folks facing similar circumstances in the future, his case would be remembered and other prosecutors would therefore choose not to go down that same road of trying to make an example out of someone with extreme punishment, for fear of creating another martyr.

I will always remember Aaron Swartz. I was a student when he leaves. His story really shocked me and taught me what is free, taught me what should I do with my knowledge. I didn't aware it has been five years since then. But now I gaze at the past five years, I'm glad that I'm on the right way which I expected five years ago.

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