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Anger at suicide of US Internet activist

Published on Jan 14, 2013 6:04 AM
Aaron Swartz poses in a Borderland Books in San Francisco on Feb 4, 2008. Internet activist and programmer Swartz, who helped create an early version of RSS and later played a key role in stopping a controversial online piracy bill in Congress, has died at age 26, an apparent suicide, New York authorities said Jan 13, 2013. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The death of prominent Internet freedom fighter Aaron Swartz, who took his own life at the age of 26, weeks before he faced trial, sparked grief and anger on Sunday from online rights advocates.

"Aaron did more than almost anyone to make the Internet a thriving ecosystem for open knowledge, and to keep it that way," wrote Peter Eckersley from California-based activist group Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"He refined advocacy for the progressive and open-information movement," said Mr David Moon, programme director for Demand Progress, a grassroots organisation that Swartz co-founded to combat Internet censorship.

Swartz, who was just 14 when he co-developed the RSS feeds that are now the norm for publishing frequent updates online and went on to help launch social news website Reddit, hanged himself in his New York apartment on Friday.

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