The Life And Death Of ‘The Internet’s Own Boy’

Aaron Swartz was a programmer, a hacker, a freedom of information activist — and a casualty of suicide. Before he turned 20, Swartz had made a fortune for his work on the social news website Reddit. He also was instrumental in founding the nonprofit Creative Commons, and later worked on the successful campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act that was taken up by Congress in 2012.

Just a year later, when he was 26 years old, Swartz hanged himself in his apartment. At the time, he was fighting federal prosecution for illegally downloading millions of pages of articles from the academic database JSTOR. He faced charges of wire and computer fraud and possibly years in federal prison.

Aaron Swartz co-authored RSS and founded the company that later became the social media website Reddit. That case and Swartz's life are the subjects of a new documentary, The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger tells NPR's Kelly McEvers that the details of the federal case against Swartz are still hazy. Continue>>>