Hackers from Anonymous on Sunday claimed credit for posting messages toMassachusetts Institute of Technology Web sites commemorating the life of RSS co-founder Aaron Swartz and calling for an overhaul of computer crime laws.
Swartz, 26, was an outspoken advocate of open information and had been embroiled in a legal battle over digital copyright for scraping articles off of the JSTOR academic article database. He hanged himself Friday at his apartment in Brooklyn.
In addition to co-authoring the technology behind RSS, which alerts users to real-time updates on Web sites, Swartz also played an early role at Reddit, and founded the advocacy group Demand Progress. He believed that the articles on JSTOR should be more widely available, particularly as many were funded by public money. He hacked into the database’s systems and downloaded articles using a computer concealed in an MIT closet.
Once found, Swartz was charged with felony hacking charges, which could have carried a decades-long sentence. His trial was set to start this spring and his attempts to reach a plea-bargain with the government, the Wall Street Journal reported, had recently fallen apart.