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Revolution through Evolution

The Internet's Own Boy: Aaron Swartz

Had Hitler been alive, he would have banned reddit in Germany. Born to Jewish parents in Chicago, Aaron Swartz was something what we all are aspiring, or for most engineering students I should say, perspiring to be - programmer. Oh wait! Let’s not carry on with the taboo of engineers being geeky nerds. He was an hacktivist. Bang! And now I believe you will read on with more awe.

Aaron was not only a computer charmer, but also a writer, entrepreneur, political organizer, developer of web feed format RSS. He was also involved in the development of the organization, Creative Commons, an NGO which focused on the expansion of flexible copyrights and has released many copyright licenses, free of charge, to the public.

Here are some of his achievements :-

He was the cofounder of reddit “the front page of internet” ( a social networking site). Also it merged with his own company, Infogami, which is based on the website framework web.py

Markdown :- Along with his colleague, he created less complicated markup standard, derived from HTML.

W3C :- He authored RF 3870. RDF allows common info to be exchanged between disparate application.

During 2011-2012, he conducted research studies on political corruption as a lab fellow in Harvard University.

He was an internet activist and played a key role in preventing the “Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)” bill from passing, by starting a campaign. He founded the online group- Demand Progress. Even though the bill was to thwart copyright violations but was carped as it would have granted powers to the government to shut down websites accused of copyright violations and would have placed burden on internet providers. Also, this would have hindered the free and smooth flow of cybernetic information sharing. 

Well he certainly was a contemporary of Rancho, who pushed his limits. Using JSTOR, he  downloaded millions of academic journal articles from MIT computer networks, for which he was convicted and labeled as a felon. Charges were levied on him for computer and wire fraud. Later indictment increased criminal charges to 50 years of imprisonment and $1 million in fine. On 11th January 2013, he committed suicide by hanging himself at his apartment.

A biographical documentry, The Internet's own boy: the story of Aaron Swartz, was released in January 2014 which depicts his life and emphasizes his hard work and enthusiasm in programming.

Arunima Agarwal

Having a passion for tech science and zeal to play with words, enthuse me to write about technological fables. A humble ambition to become a writer, I would like to get to you the stories of some amazing technocrats - who believe creativity and innovation are the best tools to sculpt a career for oneself.