Remembering the hero who fought for our freedom in the Internet era

your say January 14, 2019 01:00

Last Friday marked five years since the day the brilliant computer mind, Aaron Swartz, apparently committed suicide at the age of 26. His is a heartbreaking story.

The young man was a genius whose love of life, freedom and liberty inspired him to wage battle against the powers-that-be who would deny us our birthright.

He was the most important defender of Internet freedom of our times, who rallied millions to the cause. 

“Information is power,” Swartz once noted. “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 digitised and locked up by a handful of private corporations.”

Swartz was arrested for a minor crime of making archived research material available to all. He was strip-searched, thrown in solitary confinement and threatened with years in prison. It is extremely doubtful that such a brilliant man – who was about to get married – committed suicide. His father has never believed the authorities’ version of how his son died, a death that left Swartz’s family, his fiancee and his many followers heartbroken.

And now we get the equally sad news that on the very day, six years after Swartz died, his programming partner committed suicide. If it were not so unbelievably sad, one would have to laugh. Brilliant people and humanity are being cowed into submission, nothing less. People of the world, wake up!