MIT Orders Internal Investigation of Its Role In Aaron Swartz's Suicide
There are new disturbing details over what may have led a young internet activist to commit suicide last week. 26-year-old Aaron Swartz, who helped found the social news website Reddit, was found dead in his Brooklyn home of an apparent suicide last Friday.
Swartz was the subject of federal prosecution, accused of stealing nearly five million academic journals through MIT's network. Federal prosecutors were adamant that Swartz admit that he broke into MIT’s computer system and stole the academic journals. They were also insistent that he go to prison.
Despite his lawyer’s attempts to strike a plea deal
, most recently last week, they were turned down.
Now, federal prosecutors are under fire for what many are calling extremely harsh prosecution. The hacker group Anonymous has since crashed the MIT website. Swartz’s family said in a statement, “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”
The president of MIT says the school plans on looking into the role it may have played and added that it pains him to think the school played a part in his death. The company that is paid to store the academic journals has commented, saying that this was an overzealous prosecution.