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Hundreds honor information activist Swartz in NYC

January 19, 2013 • Business


Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Aaron Swartz’s partner and Founder and Executive Director of SumOfUs.org, speaks during his memorial service, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 in New York. Friends and supporters of Swartz paid tribute Saturday to the free-information activist and online prodigy, who killed himself last week as he faced trial on hacking charges. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — Portraying his suicide as the product of injustice, friends and supporters at a memorial Saturday for free-information advocate Aaron Swartz called for changing computer-crime laws and the legal system itself.

At a New York City ceremony that was part tribute and part rallying cry, Swartz — who killed himself this month as he faced trial on hacking charges — was painted as a precocious technologist, erudite activist and hounded hero. One speaker called him nothing less than an “Internet saint.”

To prosecutors, the 26-year-old Swartz was a thief whose aims to make information available didn’t excuse the illegal acts he was charged with: breaking into a wiring closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and tapping into its computer network to download millions of paid-access scholarly articles, which he planned to share publicly.

But Swartz’s girlfriend said the case drove him to his death.

“He was so scared and so frustrated and so desperate and, more than anything else, just so weary. I think he just Login to read more

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