The suicide of Reddit's co-founder and RSS co-creator Aaron Swartz has unleashed a public outcry among internet freedom activists and supporters.
The 26-year-old Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment after what his family and friends describe as an "aggressive prosecution" supposedly "hound[ed] him into a position where he was facing a ruinous trial, life in prison."
Two years ago, prosecutors said Swartz illegally downloaded millions of scientific journals from MIT and JSTOR, a journal storage repository. He had been an advocate for open access and the freedom of information online.
Swartz's trial was due in April; and, if convicted, he could've faced decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines.
According to ABC News, the outcry over Swartz's suicide has prompted a White House petition — so far signed by 12,000 people — asking for the removal of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz who pressed the case against Swartz.
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched an internal probe of the events leading up to the suicide of the internet activist.
"It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy," MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in a statement. "Now is a time for everyone involved to reflect on their actions, and that includes all of us at MIT," he added.