And I also believe he was. No for the ways but for the means, being a perfectionist as he called himself, he couldn't see something wrong in society or worst in the internet information debate and help of trying to fix it. In a sense a hero to me. RIP.AS.
How much are we paying with held back technological, scientific, and social and intellectual progress from this restricted access to information, information often published by the authors for free yet given to only a privileged few? There may be minds out there who could come up with something new except they can't get access to the right information to learn what they need to in order to do that. We all suffer for the profits of a few this way.
Aaron Swartz was not a cyber criminal. He did everything he could to make sure that the human rights to privacy were preserved on the internet. He also did what he could to ensure that companies were not taking advantage of people on the internet. This doesn't sound like a cyber criminal to me.
Adam Swartz did what he did for a cause that he believed in and that many people shared. He was not doing it for criminal intent or for personal profit. I don't understand all the details, but I do strongly support the freedom of information and the public's access to information, and I think Adam Swartz's actions were intended to preserve those rights.
As a person who has been published (without pay) within one of the many journals that JSTOR sells access to I feel that what he did was brilliant at the very least. I appreciate and respect Aaron Swartz's perspective on knowledge and the access to knowledge by the general public.
Although Aaron Swartz might have broken the law he was not a criminal any more than Rosa Parks was a criminal for sitting in the front of a segregated bus. The internet, like radio in the 1920s and television in the late 1940s is still a new technology that holds promise as a great source of open, non-censored information. What happened with radio and television in America is that what initially was called the "public airwaves" was soon controlled by a very few large corporations. These corporations came to be the gatekeepers of the information propagated through these most popular forms of media. It has enabled these corporations to censor information in a way that benefits only a few very rich shareholders and not the public good. This is what Aaron Swartz was fighting against. Therefore I consider him a freedom fighter and not a criminal.