|[January 14, 2013]
ThoughtWorks Mourns our Beloved Colleague Aaron Swartz, Responds to MIT's Statement
NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--
Aaron Swartz, a brilliant 26-year-old software developer at ThoughtWorks
and renowned internet freedom activist, committed suicide on Friday,
January 11th. ThoughtWorks mourns this tragic loss to his
family, friends, co-workers, and the technology and activist communities.
Aaron's technical accomplishments are legion. At a very young age, he
was positioned to become a wealthy tech mogul, but Aaron selflessly
chose a different path. He used technology in brilliant and courageous
ways to empower people and democratize access to information, as
vehicles for expression, and as tools for organizing movements.
ThoughtWorkers were honored to support Aaron's family and friends by
developing the open-source memorial site, http://rememberaaronsw.com
and we hope the broader community will contribute remembrances and code.
Aaron was a leader in our Social Impact Program (SIP). He was the team
lead for VictoryKit, an open source project he initiated to empower
individuals to start their own internet-based movements around issues.
He brought a vast knowledge of technology, activism, politics,
economics, and culture, and a keen sense of effective solutions.
We share and support the official statement from the family and partner
of Aaron Swartz that decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts
U.S. Attorney's office and at MIT (News - Alert) contributed to his death. Aaron was
the target of a vindictive government prosecution by the Department of
Justice and a disproportionate reaction. The supposed victim, JSTOR,
clearly conveyed that it did not support the charges. MIT, however, did
not join JSTOR, and so the US Attorney continued the prosecution.
Aaron's life was heavily burdened by the prospect of 35 years in prison.
While we welcome MIT's investigation, it is reprehensible that it took
Aaron's death to cause MIT's President Reif to issue Sunday's statement.
MIT could have taken action earlier to remove this unjust pressure on
Aaron. What is needed from MIT is an apology to the family and policy
changes to guarantee that this injustice never occurs again.
ThoughtWorks also supports the growing calls for accountability for the
prosecutorial abuse, directed by lead prosecutor Stephen Heymann under
the supervision of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, that bullied Aaron. We
demand an investigation into the Department of Justice's actions in this
Today there is a major battle over the fate of the internet. Will we and
future generations have an open, uncensored internet that is a force for
democracy - or will the internet be owned and controlled by a few huge
companies backed by the heavy hand of governments that serve them In
that battle, Aaron was a champion and inspiration to people across the
world. Today, he is a tragic casualty. ThoughtWorks stood by Aaron, and
will continue to support his vision.
Please honor Aaron with your commitment to internet freedom and
democracy, technological excellence, and social and economic justice.
ThoughtWorks - A software company and community of passionate
individuals whose purpose is to revolutionize software design, creation
and delivery, while advocating for positive social change. Our clients
are people and organizations with ambitious missions; we deliver
disruptive thinking and technology to empower them to succeed. In our
20th year, over 2300 ThoughtWorks employees - 'ThoughtWorkers' - are
currently serving clients from offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada,
China, Germany, India, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, the U.K., and
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