We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Internet's own boy ...

I came across him when he committed suicide last year at the age of 26 years, while fighting the Computer Fraud related felony charges pressed by US government for downloading academic articles from JStor, a journal archival system. 

Then I read more about him. Tried understanding his work. 

An ardent Internet activist, one of the creators of RSS feed specifications, one of the Reddit founders, online campaigner and many more achievements in a short span of 26 years. 

He believed in the power of the Internet to bring an information revolutions for a knowledgeable society, to make this world a better place. His fight got more political during later years.

He was being charged for downloading copyrighted academic material from JStor, an academic journal from MIT campus. Jstor dropped the case, MIT took a neutral stance, however the government wanted to prove a point and make Aaron an example to deter future incidences of this kind, so they charged 13 charges under a Computer Fraud related act. After fighting it for around 2 years under a constant shadow of prosecution young Aaron finally succumbed. 

His death reviewed the debate on the misuse of such outdated laws and started the change to revive them. 

The documentary is a nice watch to get some understanding of the story overall. 

Aaron, only if the governments behave in a more sensible way to pave a way for a more transparent functioning of knowledge sharing, to build better societies, your soul would rest in peace...till then the fight would go on ....

Thank you ....

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