January 18, 2013

Naive Illusions of the Hacker Community

John Gapper, Financial Times

AP Photo

The death of the internet activist Aaron Swartz at the age of 26 has rightly evoked tributes to his creativity and selflessness. Swartz, who faced jail for illegally downloading millions of academic papers from an electronic library, committed suicide last week. Five years ago, Swartz signed a “guerrilla open access manifesto” in which he complained of “the world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage” being “digitised and locked up by a handful of private corporations” such as Reed Elsevier. He advised computer hackers to “take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world”.

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TAGGED: Hackers