New York Times, 12 January 2013
Aaron Swartz, a wizardly programmer who as a teenager helped to develop a computer code that provided a format for delivering regularly changing Web content and in later life became an unwavering crusader to make that information free of charge, died in New York on Friday, a family member said.
Mr. Swartz was 26, and his death was due to suicide. His body was found by his girlfriend in his apartment in New York, his uncle, Michael Wolf, said on Saturday. He had apparently hanged himself, Mr. Wolf said.
As a 14-year-old, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous software that allows people to subscribe to information from the Internet. But as he reached adulthood, Mr. Swartz became even more of an Internet folk hero to many because of his online activism to make many Internet files open to the public for free.
Phi Beta Iota: Despite an excellent obituary that asks no questions, we believe Aaron Swartz was murdered and that neither The New York Times nor Mayor Bloomberg, with the vaunted David Cohen leading his intelligence unit, are going to question Swartz’s “suicide.” Only a proper investigation with external oversight can validate a true suicide. A person of Mr. Swartz’s intelligence would not commit suicide by hanging. He would have found a pleasant unpainful way to die, and he would have released everything he had in hand to web first. In our view, this is much too similar to another “assisted suicide,” that of Mark Lombardi, a thorn in the side of the criminal financial network that owns London and New York.