Reddit co-founder known as 'open data' activist commits suicide

Reddit co-founder known as 'open data' activist commits suicide

From online dispatches
Reddit co-founder known as open data activist commits suicide

Internet activist Aaron Swartz poses for a photo in Miami Beach, Fla. Swartz was found dead Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment, according to Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for New York's medical examiner. Swartz, 26, was scheduled to face trial on hacking charges in a few weeks. AP Photo/The New York Times, Michael Francis McElroy

U.S. Internet activist and computer programmer Aaron Swartz, who was accused of federal criminal charges in a fraud case, has committed suicide aged 26.

The New York Police found Swartz's body in his apartment on Friday. According to officials he committed suicide by hanging.

Swartz had been facing a fraud lawsuit filed by academic subscription-only website, which demanded 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine if Swartz was convicted.

The federal indictment claimed Swartz used the computer networks of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in order to steal 4 million articles from JSTOR.

He defended himself as not guilty of fraud in 2012.

He was released on bond after the trial, however the case was not closed.

Co-founder of Reddit and a known defender of "open data," Swartz repeatedly stated that all information should be freely available for everyone to use and republish without copyright restrictions. He was fiercely opposed to the recent "Stop Online Piracy Act."

There are suggestions that Swartz may have committed suicide after becoming depressed due to the ongoing trial.