Aaron Swartz, the internet activist who had to face the ‘prosecutorial overreach’ of the U.S. government and committed suicide because of it, will now be awarded with a posthumous freedom of information award.
The death of Aaron Swartz stirred a huge debate in the tech world as well as among the human rights activists. The death was apparently as a result of U.S. government’s efforts to punish an individual for virtually no crime and make an example out of him.
The family of Aaron Swartz as well as his friends and colleagues squarely put the blame on the authorities. Swartz was somewhat of an internet prodigy and worked diligently to ensure public’s access to educational documents.
The freedom of information award recognizes such ‘individuals who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know national information.’ It is administered by the American Library Association.
The award will be presented to Swartz’s family by the Democratic congresswoman, Zoe Lofgren. In the past, Lofgren herself has been honored with the award due to her efforts towards opening up the government information to public access. While the award can certainly not undo the damage that the prosecutorial persecution has done to Aaron Swartz, it certainly does show that putting individuals under the ax of law for working towards noble causes is highly deplorable and unacceptable to the public at large.
Currently, an ‘Aaron’s law’ is also under consideration which is expected to purge the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of such clauses which implicated Swartz himself.