Aaron Swartz Interview Video: Months Before His Suicide, He Warned Corporations Could Censor the Internet

In the latest news from the ongoing aftermath of the suicide of Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz back in January 2013, an interview that Swartz made mere months before his suicide has been released. The interview concerned the encroachment of private business into putting restrictions on the Internet and mirrored some of the aspects that he faced in his legal struggles. While the Internet is generally seen as a beacon for information and openness, Swartz expresses concern that private companies have less restrictions on censoring the Internet than government.

Watch the interview below:


Via Wired

Swartz brings up his concerns about private business regarding the freedom of the Internet. He says:

"Private companies are a little bit scarier because they have no constitution to answer to, they’re not elected really, they don’t have constituents or voters."

He says that while proponents against censorship in the private sphere have been successful, advocates of a free Internet should be concerned about both private and public censorship efforts in the future.

Swartz was a proponent of a free and fair Internet for all, involved in such efforts as protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act and efforts on network neutrality.


Swartz’s suicide in the aftermath of his prosecution for mass-downloading articles from Jstor, which became a lightning rod in the freedom of information debate, made him a martyr for proponents of a free Internet. Those who support a free Internet will likely take his message that they must maintain vigilance against both private and public intrusion into this sphere of communication to heart.

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Gabriel Rodriguez

Gabriel Rodriguez is currently studying for a Masters in Applied Economics at Georgetown. He is a graduate of New College of Florida with a degree in Economics. He is interested in econometrics, statistical analysis, behavioral economics, and developmental economics.

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