US & Canada

In quotes: Tributes to Aaron Swartz

Image caption Swartz developed RSS at an early age

Friends and admirers have been paying tribute to Aaron Swartz, a prominent US internet activist who has died at the age of 26.

Below is a selection of some of the many quotes posted online after Mr Swartz's death on Saturday, in what authorities say was a suicide.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of world wide web

tweets: "Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep."

Peter Eckersley, Electronic Frontier Foundation, non-profit digital rights group

writes: "Aaron did more than almost anyone to make the Internet a thriving ecosystem for open knowledge, and to keep it that way.

While his methods were provocative, the goal that Aaron died fighting for - freeing the publicly-funded scientific literature from a publishing system that makes it inaccessible to most of those who paid for it - is one that we should all support.

Moreover, the situation Aaron found himself in highlights the injustice of US computer crime laws, and particularly their punishment regimes."

Lawrence Lessig, Harvard law professor and ex-mentor

blogs: "Here is where we need a better sense of justice, and shame. For the outrageousness in this story is not just Aaron. It is also the absurdity of the prosecutor's behaviour.

From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterise what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way. The "property" Aaron had "stolen," we were told, was worth "millions of dollars"- with the hint, and then the suggestion, that his aim must have been to profit from his crime.

But anyone who says that there is money to be made in a stash of ACADEMIC ARTICLES is either an idiot or a liar. It was clear what this was not, yet our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed.

Cory Doctorow, blogger and Swartz's friend

writes: "Aaron had an unbeatable combination of political insight, technical skill, and intelligence about people and issues. I think he could have revolutionized American (and worldwide) politics. His legacy may still yet do so.

Somewhere in there, Aaron's recklessness put him right in harm's way."

Quinn Norton, Swartz's former partner

writes: "We used to have a fight about how much the internet would grieve if he died. I was right, but the last word you get in as the still living is a hollow thing, trailing off, as it does, into oblivion.

I love Aaron. I loved Aaron. There are no words to contain love, to cloth it in words is to kill it, to mummify it and hope that somewhere in the heart of a reader, they have the strength and the magic to resurrect it. I can only say I love him."

Joey deVilla, tech blogger and friend

blogs: "The time for anger and resulting constructive action will come, but for me, it's not that time yet.

For now, it's time for those of us who knew him to remember the young man we knew and admire."

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