Death Of An Open-Access Activist

Martin Khor | The Star | January 21, 2013

The tragic suicide of a well-known Internet open-access advocate has sparked protests against the highly protected system that limits public access to knowledge.

THE suicide death of an American Internet activist and a leader of the open access movement, after he was prosecuted for computer-related crimes, has sparked protests and a debate on laws that hinder the public’s access to information and knowledge.

Aaron Swartz, 26, was not an ordinary Internet activist. A Financial Times article lists his achievements as: A software programmer who developed an online tool that contributed to the Web 2.0 movement, a co-founder of the Crea­tive Commons initiative to promote information free from copyright.

He also developed an online information service that later became the popular information site Reddit. He later co-founded the Demand­Progress group that opposed legislation limiting access to online information, and which last year together with other groups defeated the US Stop Online Piracy Act...