MIT Chief Orders Review After Aaron Swartz Suicide

Internet Activist's Family Blames College and Prosecutors

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By Forward Staff

Published January 13, 2013.

The president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reportedly announced Sunday that he has ordered a review of the university’s actions in a hacking case against internet activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself over the weekend.

Aaron Swartz
wikipedia
Aaron Swartz

Swartz, 26, who was found hanged in his Brooklyn apartment, was awaiting a federal trial on 13 felony counts. The case stemmed from his alleged theft of files from J-Stor, a massive collection of academic papers owned by MIT.

“Now is a time for everyone involved to reflect on their actions, and that includes all of us at MIT,” President L. Rafael Reif said in an email sent to the university community Sunday afternoon, Politico reported.

Reif appointed Hal Abelson, a computer science and electrical engineering professor at the Boston school, “to lead a thorough analysis of MIT’s involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present.”

“I have asked that this analysis describe the options MIT had and the decisions MIT made, in order to understand and to learn from the actions MIT took,” Reif wrote, according to Politico.

The soul-searching at MIT came as relatives suggested that overzealousness on the part of MIT and prosecutors may have contributed to Swartz’s suicide.

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