Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz was a very well-educated computer programmer who helped develop many websites.  He was well-known for his news website Reddit and in helping develop Creative Commons.  Aaron also did research work at Harvard where he founded a group that campaigned against online piracy called Demand Progress. Aaron was arrested in January of 2011 on accounts of breaking and entering, wire fraud, and on violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. These charges were based on the fact that Aaron Swartz was accused of downloading academic journals from JSTOR (Peterson). These charges added up to be about one million dollars worth of fines and around 35 years in prison. In 2013 after attempts and denial of getting a plea bargain, Aaron Swartz took his life (Wikipedia). I believe that this whole situation says a lot about United States law and government, I think that his sentencing was unfair. People facing rape and murder charges sometimes do not even receive such lengthy sentences and high fines for their misdoing, which in my opinion is way worse than Aarons wrong doings. I believe that the government puts their personal threats before the safety of their citizens. Most high profile criminals even receive plea bargains, and at such a young age facing 35 years in prison is not a fair final sentence for Aaron. I believe that the government pushed Aaron to suicide, and the way that they handled the whole case could have been done differently. Although copying and taking others works is wrong, I believe that the government overreacted to such a small threat of a young man who was also doing good things on the internet- like trying to stop piracy and being an internet activist.

References
Aaron Swartz. (2013, October 26). Wikipedia. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz

Peterson, A. (2013, July 30). The four lamest excuses in MIT’s report on Aaron Swartz. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/07/30/the-four-lamest-excuses-in-mits-report-on-aaron-swartz/

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