Anger at suicide of US Internet activist

Angry activists poured scorn on prosecutors Sunday for leading an overzealous campaign against Internet freedom fighter Aaron Swartz, with his family suggesting it contributed to his suicide.

Swartz, who was just 14 when he co-developed the RSS feeds that are now the norm for publishing frequent updates online and went on to help launch social news website Reddit, hanged himself in his New York apartment on Friday.

He had been due to stand trial in April for allegedly breaking into a closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to plug into the computer network and download millions of academic journal articles from the subscription-only JSTOR service.

Swartz had written openly about suffering periodically from depression, but friends and family suggested the looming trial contributed to his suicide and accused MIT and prosecutors of being overzealous in pursuing their case.

"Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach," a family statement said.

"Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney's office and at MIT contributed to his death."

MIT president L. Rafael Reif expressed shock and grief at Swartz's death, and tapped computer science and engineering professor Hal Abelson to lead a "thorough analysis" of MIT's involvement in the JSTOR case.

"I want to express very clearly that I and all of us at MIT are extremely saddened by the death of this promising young man who touched the lives of so many," Reif said in a statement.

"It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy."

Swartz had pleaded not guilty to charges of computer fraud, wire fraud and other crimes carrying a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who filed the indictment against Swartz, said at the time: "Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars."

When asked for comment on Swartz's death and his family's accusations, US Attorney's Office spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling told AFP: "We want to respect the privacy of the family and do not feel it is appropriate to comment on the case at this time."

Meanwhile, tributes poured in from friends, former colleagues and Internet luminaries alike.

"Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep," tweeted Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

Prominent blogger and friend Cory Doctorow said Swartz "could have revolutionized American (and worldwide) politics. His legacy may still yet do so."

Several reactions to Swartz's suicide were tinged with bitterness and some directly attacked prosecutors for relentlessly pursuing serious criminal charges that they argued were trumped up.

"We need a better sense of justice," wrote Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, faculty director for the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, where Swartz was once a fellow.

"The question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a 'felon.'"

Two years before the MIT incident, the FBI launched an investigation after Swartz released a trove of US federal court documents online that are usually only accessible at a fee through the government's Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER.

Alex Stamos, an executive with Artemis Internet, said he had planned to testify as an expert witness for Swartz in his upcoming trial.

"I know a criminal hack when I see it, and Aaron's downloading of journal articles from an unlocked closet is not an offense worth 35 years in jail," he wrote in a blog post.

"In short, Aaron Swartz was not the super hacker breathlessly described in the government's indictment and forensic reports, and his actions did not pose a real danger to JSTOR, MIT or the public."

A post on Swartz's memorial site, rememberaaronsw.tumblr.com, said his funeral would be held on Tuesday in Chicago, open to friends, family and fans.

--

Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.
Loading...
  • US stocks flat as oil shares pressured AFP - 8 minutes ago

    Petroleum-linked shares retreated Wednesday ahead of a US oil inventory report as Wall Street stocks opened little-changed in sluggish trade. Shares of Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron dipped with oil ... … More »

  • Markets Right Now: US stocks open lower Associated Press - 8 minutes ago

    The latest on developments in global financial markets (all times local): 9:35 a.m. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street as the market gives back a modest gain from the day before. Mining and ... … More »

  • Wall Street opens little changed as investors eye Fed
    Wall Street opens little changed as investors eye Fed Reuters - 18 minutes ago

    REUTERS - U.S. stocks were little changed at the open on Wednesday as investors kept up their wait for Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech on Friday for clues on the timing of an interest rate ... … More »

  • Iran yet to decide on OPEC limits: ministry source AFP - 29 minutes ago

    Iran has yet to take any decision on whether to set a ceiling on oil production or take part in a planned OPEC meeting in Algeria, an oil ministry source told AFP Wednesday. "It is too early to talk ... … More »

  • Cnooc Posts 1st Half-Year Loss on Canadian Oil Sands Charge (3) Bloomberg - 53 minutes ago

    Prices have whipsawed this year, flipping five times between bear and bull markets, as production from nations outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, including China and the U.S., declines in the wake of a price crash that began … More »

  • EU warns Greece statistics row 'dangerous' for bailout Reuters - 1 hour 18 minutes ago

    BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) - The European Union called on Greece on Wednesday to quash what Brussels said were false accusations the Greek statistics agency rigged data to help foreign creditors and warned that the row posed risks to Athens' current … More »

  • Glencore’s Worst Profit Shows Miners Still Reeling From Crisis Bloomberg - 1 hour 19 minutes ago

    Weak raw-material prices caused profit at the commodities giant to plunge 66 percent in the first half to $300 million. The shares slumped as much as 6 percent in London, the most in two months, even as Glencore promised to cut debt even further … More »

  • New trade deal with Britain may take time, Norwegian minister says Reuters - 1 hour 43 minutes ago

    Norway wants to maintain a good relationship with Britain after it leaves the European Union but it may take a long time for a new trade agreement to be established, the EU affairs minister in Oslo said on Wednesday. Elisabeth Aspaker told a … More »

  • Qatari state fund buys stake in NY's Empire State Building
    Qatari state fund buys stake in NY's Empire State Building Associated Press - 1 hour 44 minutes ago

    Qatar's sovereign wealth fund has made an iconic purchase in America — a stake in the company that owns New York's Empire State Building. The $622-million purchase by the Qatar Investment Authority comes ... … More »

  • European stocks rebound as euro slips, U.S. curve flattens
    European stocks rebound as euro slips, U.S. curve flattens Reuters - 1 hour 48 minutes ago

    European stocks edged towards consecutive daily gains for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday, drawing support from a weak euro as investors moved to price in a U.S. interest rate rise, boosting the dollar. The earlier mood was more … More »

  • WPP sees signs of post-Brexit recovery in British ad market
    WPP sees signs of post-Brexit recovery in British ad market Reuters - 1 hour 51 minutes ago

    WPP (WPP.L), the world's largest advertising group, reported a better than expected jump in first-half net sales and said its British operations showed signs in July of a "post-Brexit recovery", sending its shares to a record high. Run by … More »

  • Gold steady as investors await U.S. rate clues
    Gold steady as investors await U.S. rate clues Reuters - 1 hour 52 minutes ago

    Gold held steady on Wednesday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this weekend which will be closely watched for further clues on U.S. interest rate policy. Yellen is scheduled to address a … More »

  • Exclusive - German ratings firm Scope seeks ECB recognition Reuters - 1 hour 52 minutes ago

    German rating firm Scope says it is in talks to become one of the European Central Bank's recognised sovereign credit agencies, though tough requirements mean the process could take at least three years. Scope would become the first agency based in … More »

  • Oil prices drop as market tracks US supplies AFP - 1 hour 53 minutes ago

    Oil prices fell Wednesday, with Brent stuck below $50, after data showed an increase in US crude stockpiles, adding to supply glut concerns. Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) Tuesday showed ... … More »

  • U.S. oil falls 2 percent on surprise build in crude stocks
    U.S. oil falls 2 percent on surprise build in crude stocks Reuters - 1 hour 57 minutes ago

    U.S. oil prices fell more than 2 percent on Wednesday on an unexpected increase in U.S. crude stocks that revived worries about the supply glut that has capped prices for the past two years. Industry data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) … More »

  • U.S. oil falls 2 pct on surprise build in crude stocks
    U.S. oil falls 2 pct on surprise build in crude stocks Reuters - 2 hours 3 minutes ago

    U.S. oil prices fell more than 2 percent on Wednesday on an unexpected increase in U.S. crude stocks that revived worries about the supply glut that has capped prices for the past two years. Industry data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) … More »

  • Buba's Dombret says eyes LSE-Deutsche Boerse merger with some concern Reuters - 2 hours 22 minutes ago

    Bundesbank board member Andreas Dombret said he was concerned the planned $29 billion (21.89 billion pounds) merger between German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange may raise systemic risks in derivatives clearing. … More »

  • PetroChina profit almost wiped out in first half
    PetroChina profit almost wiped out in first half AFP News - 2 hours 27 minutes ago

    China’s biggest oil producer PetroChina's net profit plunged 97.9 percent in the first half of this year, it said Wednesday, as it struggled with a weak domestic economy and low oil prices. Net profit was 531 million yuan ($79.9 million) in the … More »

  • European equities mainly rise on German GDP
    European equities mainly rise on German GDP AFP News - 2 hours 29 minutes ago

    European stock markets mostly rose on Wednesday, shrugging off a largely downbeat session in Asia, with sentiment partly lifted by German economic growth data. Strong foreign trade and buoyant consumption drove Germany's economy, Europe's largest, … More »

  • Malaysian oil service provider Perisai in talks with bondholders Reuters - 2 hours 36 minutes ago

    Malaysian oil and gas service provider Perisai Petroleum Teknologi on Wednesday said it has started talks with holders of its S$125 million ($92.36 million) bond maturing on Oct. 3. Perisai said its interest cover ratio had fallen below the … More »

  • Angry Birds maker Rovio turns a profit, plans movie sequel
    Angry Birds maker Rovio turns a profit, plans movie sequel Reuters - 2 hours 37 minutes ago

    Finnish mobile game and animation maker Rovio Entertainment Ltd said on Wednesday it made a profit in the first half of the year and was planning a sequel to its successful Angry Birds Movie. Rovio's adjusted operating profit in the first six … More »

  • Philippines' Duterte says willing to allow online gambling resumption Reuters - 2 hours 39 minutes ago

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday he's willing to allow a resumption of online gambling in the Southeast Asian nation if correct taxes are paid and gaming parlours are far from schools and churches. The new president added … More »

  • German banks right to charge for accounts - Bundesbank's Dombret Reuters - 2 hours 48 minutes ago

    German banks are right to consider current account fees to counter low central bank rates, but an outright charge on deposits, as pioneered by a few lenders, is unlikely to become common, Bundesbank board member Andreas Dombret told Reuters. While … More »

  • EU, Portugal agree on recapitalisation for bank CGD Reuters - 3 hours ago

    The European Commission said it had reached an agreement in principle with Portugal over the recapitalisation on market terms of Portuguese state-owned bank Caixa Geral de Depositos - the country's largest lender. Under the terms of the deal, … More »

  • EU says Greek debt statistics not manipulated in 2010-2015
    EU says Greek debt statistics not manipulated in 2010-2015 Reuters - 3 hours ago

    The European Union's Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said on Wednesday the Greek statistics office did not manipulate data on the country's debt in 2010-2015 and that she had sent a letter to Athens asking it to refute any such suggestions. … More »

 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.1290.0000.00%
    N21.SI
    0.250.00-1.96%
    5ME.SI
    0.60+0.04+6.57%
    5TP.SI
    0.99-0.02-1.98%
    Y92.SI
    0.156+0.007+4.70%
    AFC.SI
  • % Gainers
    % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.30+0.06+22.45%
    T18.SI
    0.15+0.02+15.38%
    5TI.SI
    0.225+0.025+12.50%
    Y35.SI
    0.51+0.05+12.09%
    BHU.SI
    0.162+0.017+11.72%
    QS9.SI
  • % Losers
    % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.011-0.115-91.27%
    QF6.SI
    0.23-0.17-42.50%
    AWI.SI
    0.205-0.055-21.15%
    I06.SI
    0.45-0.10-18.18%
    BFK.SI
    0.385-0.085-18.09%
    E8Z.SI

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1.3540+0.0027+0.20%
    USDSGD=X
    1.5255-0.0015-0.10%
    EURSGD=X
    1.7939+0.0112+0.63%
    GBPSGD=X
    74.1120+0.0030.00%
    SGDJPY=X
    5.7239-0.0116-0.20%
    SGDHKD=X
    2.9829+0.0071+0.24%
    SGDMYR=X
    9,783.5176-33.1865-0.34%
    SGDIDR=X
    4.9142+0.0008+0.02%
    SGDCNY=X
    1.0326+0.0037+0.36%
    AUDSGD=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1,332.80-13.30-0.99%
    GCZ16.CMX
    18.65-0.28-1.46%
    SIU16.CMX
    101.12-2.77-2.67%
    ^XAU
    2.10-0.02-0.71%
    HGU16.CMX
    47.61-0.49-1.02%
    CLV16.NYM
  • Bonds
    Bonds
    TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change
    1.13-0.01
    ^FVX
    1.550.00
    ^TNX
    2.230.00
    ^TYX