Dead at 26: Reddit Founder Aaron Swartz Social Media Profile, Court Docs, Anonymous Hacks

Written by Gina Smith

Aaron Swartz, a creator of RSS and the founder of Reddit, is dead by suicide at the age of 26. The Aaron Swartz social media profile is particularly telling. Check out his LinkedIn, Twitter account feed and personal website and quote blogs here, where you see his real passion for online activism. Court docs here. — The founder of Reddit, Brooklyn-based activist Aaron Swartz, is dead, New York Medical Examiner office reps and Swartz’ attorney confirmed.

Swartz committed suicide by hanging, attorney Elliot Peters wrote in an email. His body was discovered in his Brooklyn apartment this weekend.

January 13, 2013 Update: Anonymous has reportedly hacked MIT, whose investigation kicked off a major federal case against him. The claims in the Anonymous hack echo family comments that the government was using Swartz as an example and throwing the book at him with all its might. Watch for developments

The full text of the case documents involved, which shows the Secret Service got involved in what appears to be a run of the mill milking of unsensitive MIT docs from a server, are below. Judge for yourself if the government was riding Swartz too hard by reading the cases below. We’ll be following this up with legal analysis.

Scroll below for glimpses at the late Aaron Swartz social profile as revealed on his LinkedIn, Twitter, Raw Meat quote blog, pinboard, and other social accounts.

Swartz identified himself online more as an activist than as a budding entrepreneur or as one of the creators of RSS. According to his Linked In profile, he also co-founded the non-profit political action group Demand Progress, which campaigns against Internet censorship. On his LinkedIn account, he referred to himself as an “applied sociologist.”


His personal website at talks more about his activist aims. His Raw Meat quote blog, updated last on December 29, 2012, is particularly telling as to his political views and the executives he admired and despised. Find that here.


RIP Aaron Swartz. The BBC posted a piece that is quite good on Reddit, if you’re just catching up: What Is This Thing Called Reddit?

According to a report at, “in 2011 (Boston authorities) arrested (him) and charged (him) with stealing millions of scientific journals from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Swartz pleaded not guilty. His federal trial on computer fraud charges was to begin next month. If convicted, he could have faced more than 50 years in prison and up to $4 million in fines.”

Swartz was actively tweeting — he was @aaronsw — up until January 8.

Aaron Swartz was in the news after Senator Ted Kennedy’s death three years ago — with a petition of his own. Watch him here on the news, from the AaronSw YouTube channel.

Here’s the legal complaint, in full, of the case against Swartz. Scroll below to see the case docket — the last action looks to be Friday, the day officials say he committed suicide. If convicted, Swartz was looking at a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison.

Swartz Complaint by Gina Smith

Here’s the case docket from the case against the now late-Aaron Swartz. Scroll below for more court docs, readable in line below.

Aaron Swartz Docket1 by Gina Smith

Here’s the amended complaint.

Government Disclosure Statement by Gina Smith

Here’s the government’s disclosure statement.

Government Disclosure Statement by Gina Smith

Here’s the last entry in the case.

Swarz Last Entry in Swartz Case. by Gina Smith