Web

Aaron Swartz’s family claims harsh justice system contributed to his death

aaron swartzs family claims harsh justice system contributed to his death swartzThe family of Internet activist Aaron Swartz claimed on Saturday that an overly harsh justice system contributed to his untimely death. Swartz, 26, was found hanged inside his Brooklyn apartment on Friday.

The Reddit co-founder and RSS co-creator, who by his own admission struggled with depression, was due to stand trial in February over allegations that he stole almost five million scholarly articles from Journal Storage (JSTOR) – via the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) computer network – with the intention of making them available to the public. If found guilty, he may have faced a lengthy prison term.

On Saturday his family and partner released a statement praising Swartz’s “insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance”.

It continued, “We’re grateful for our time with him, to those who loved him and stood with him, and to all of those who continue his work for a better world.”

Strong words, however, were reserved for the US justice system and MIT. “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach,” it said.

‘Harsh’

“Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death,” the statement continued. “The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.”

It closed with the words, “Today, we grieve for the extraordinary and irreplaceable man that we have lost.”

Following the announcement of his death on Friday, tributes have been pouring in for Swartz, who was a strong supporter of freedom of information on the web and co-founder of the digital activist outfit Demand Progress, a group which helped to block the controversial House of Representatives SOPA bill last year.

Digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation described him as “extraordinary” and said he “did more than almost anyone to make the Internet a thriving ecosystem for open knowledge, and to keep it that way.”

Long-time friend Cory Doctorow said in a post on Boing Boing that even at 14 years old, Swartz had “a kind of intense, fast intellect that really made me feel like he was part and parcel of the Internet society, like he belonged in the place where your thoughts are what matter, and not who you are or how old you are.”

Swartz’s funeral will take place on January 15 in Highland Park, Illinois, where he grew up.

[Image: Sage Ross]

Mobile

Verizon’s 5G is blazing fast on the Galaxy S10 5G, if you’re on the right block

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is finally here, and we went to Chicago to test its 5G connectivity capabilities on Verizon's 5G network. Like with the Moto Z3 and Moto Mod, service is still limited, but it's super fast.
Mobile

5G your old phone: HTC’s 5G Hub is now available for pre-order from Sprint

HTC almost made a phone. The HTC 5G Hub runs Android 9 Pie, has a Qualcomm 855 processor with the X50 modem, 4GB of RAM, and an HD touchscreen -- but it's a hot spot designed to connect to 5G networks.
Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

Late spring weather isn’t the only thing heating up. The technology sector offers some of the hottest jobs in the country, and talent and experience are in high demand. May is blooming with thousands of high-paying positions all over the…
Social Media

Be the master of your own Insta-verse with multiple Instagram accounts

Whether you own a small business or have separate Instagram accounts for your five cats, we'll walk you through the process of switching between your multiple accounts on your Apple or Android devices.
Social Media

A fond farewell to Grumpy Cat, the internet’s most famous feline

We say farewell and fondly remember Grumpy Cat, the internet's most famous frowning feline meme and a genuine sweetheart, who died at the age of seven. Even tempered and tolerant, Grumpy Cat was in real life nearly the opposite of her…
Movies & TV

Tired of Netflix? Here's where to find free movies online, legally

We've spent countless hours digging around the web to find the best sites for streaming free movies online. Not only are all of these sites completely free to use, they're also completely legal and trustworthy.
Web

Gmail logs your purchase history, undermining Google’s commitment to privacy

Google has tried to portray itself as privacy-focused. But a new report shows Google tracks many of your online purchases, even if they are bought from a non-Google affiliated store like Amazon.
Computing

Whether you want to edit, sign, or append, PDFs, these are the best PDF editors

While there are plenty of PDF editor options online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Web

Creators of WhatsApp attack software face lawsuit from Amnesty International

This week a spyware attack was launched on WhatsApp. Now the Israeli firm linked to that attack is facing a lawsuit from human rights NGO Amnesty International, alleging their software has been used to surveil human rights defenders.
Social Media

Millions of Instagram influencers reportedly had private data exposed online

As many as 49 million Instagram influencers have reportedly had their private data exposed in an online database that had no password protection. The database was apparently created by a marketing firm and has been taken offline.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk thinks Starlink satellite internet could be online before 2021

Elon Musk's ultra-ambitious Starlink space internet project may take until November 2027 to be fully operational. However, some level of service could be offered as soon as next year.
Web

What is Reddit? A beginner’s guide to the front page of the internet

If you spend much time online, you've probably heard of Reddit. Here, we break down the terminology, perks, and inner workings of everyone's favorite social platform. Understanding the "front page of the internet" has never been so easy.