The Rebel With A Flawed Cause

Posted by M ws On Tuesday, January 15, 2013 0 comments
It is always good to consider both sides of an issue. Consider the following commentary by David Weidner on Aaron Swartz posted in Market Watch.


Swartz was a rebel with a flawed cause
Commentary: 'Aaron Swartz’s legacy doesn’t need martyrdom '



We all know that on Wall Street money is power.

In the tech world the principle is the same, but the equation is different: Knowledge is power.

And Aaron Swartz, the programmer, writer and activist who died in an apparent suicide Friday, tried to upset the balance of power — by messing with the people who control the knowledge. Read more on the death of Aaron Swartz .






We all know that on Wall Street money is power.

In the tech world the principle is the same, but the equation is different: Knowledge is power.

And Aaron Swartz, the programmer, writer and activist who died in an apparent suicide Friday, tried to upset the balance of power — by messing with the people who control the knowledge. Read more on the death of Aaron Swartz .

Good for him. But let’s be honest. As admirable as his talent and ambitions were, as persecuted as he was, there are two key things to remember:

First, Swartz sometimes went too far and encouraged taking the work of others.

Second, his persecutors are not responsible for his death.

By suggesting otherwise sullies his legacy and creates a phony martyrdom.

He doesn’t deserve that. Swartz, you may know, is credited with developing RSS, the standard Web feed for news and other updated content. RSS and Reddit, which Swartz helped create, are so pervasive most everyone on the Internet uses or benefits from them whether they know it or not. Swartz created RSS when he was 14.

Wikipedia owes much to Swartz who helped strengthen, clarify and enforce standards. See Swartz’s Wikipedia page .

He was also known for promoting free distribution and access to information on the Internet, sometimes called “free culture” — he also clashed with authorities over this. Last year, he was accused of illegally downloading 4 million academic articles.

For Swartz, this wasn’t stealing. To him knowledge truly was power. He believed access to information on the Internet was a basic right — or should be — for everyone. To him, the idea was that unfettered access to knowledge would help everyone to realize their full potential.

Put another way, Swartz advocated a redistribution of intellectual wealth.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

CLICK HERE for an article by Carla Mozee.


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