HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz was “killed by the government,” his father told mourners Tuesday during his son’s funeral in suburban Chicago.
Swartz, who help create Reddit and RSS, the technology behind blogs, podcasts and other web-based subscription services, was found dead Friday in his New York apartment. He was facing federal charges that alleged he illegally gained access to millions of articles from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer archive.
Related Coverage: Aaron Swartz
- 7/30/13: MIT Report Finds School Remained Neutral In Swartz Case
- Investigative Report: Ortiz Critics Say Swartz Tragedy Is Evidence Of Troublesome Pattern
- 3/13/13 At MIT Memorial For Aaron Swartz, Criticism And Introspection
- 3/7/13: Aaron Swartz’s Father On MIT’s Handling Of Case: ‘Something I’ll Never Recover From’
- 2/5/13: Swartz Remembered In D.C.
- 1/16/13: Ortiz Defends Charges Against Swartz
- 1/16/13: Retired Federal Judge Joins Criticism Over Handling Of Swartz Case
- 1/15/13: Swartz Father Blames ‘Government’
- 1/15/13: Prosecution’s Case Against Swartz Draws Scrutiny
- 1/13/13: Reddit Co-Founder Dies Before Trial
- 2011: Cambridge Man Charged With Stealing Documents From MIT
- Op-Ed: We Need A Better Sense Of Justice, And Shame
Robert Swartz said during the service in Highland Park that his son was “hounded by the government, and MIT refused him,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“He was killed by the government, and MIT betrayed all of its basic principles,” he said.
Swartz, 26, was facing charges that carried a maximum penalty of decades in prison. His trial was scheduled to begin in April.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz had no comment about Robert Swartz’s remarks, Ortiz spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said.
Swartz’s family also lashed out against prosecutors Saturday, saying the death was “the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”
Swartz’s case highlighted society’s uncertain, evolving view of how to treat people who break into computer systems and share data not to enrich themselves, but to make it available to others.
Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, director of the Safra Center for Ethics where Swartz was once a fellow, both spoke at the funeral.
“We felt the indictment was nonsense and that he would be acquitted,” Berners-Lee told the newspaper after the service.