Aaron Swartz did not have to die. Most of us on the internet have used technology that he had a hand in creating. He helped devlop RSS, a technology that powers this very blog. Swartz also helped to create a popular website called Reddit. It was his Internet activism that got him into trouble. Swartz released for free a lot of documents that people would normally have to pay for. These academic journals were not secret or private, they were just behind a pay firewall that Swartz breached. You see, Aaron Swartz believed that information should be free. Sure he was misguided and should have faced consequences for his actions but would you believe that he was facing 13 felony counts for his actions? It would seem that federal prosecutor Carmen Ortiz wanted to make an example of Swartz and was planning to throw the book at him. Swartz's lawyer could have successfully argued that the 13 felony counts were outrageous and may have been able to clear his name. Brendan Spaar believes that Aaron Swartz was a troubled person who was trying to come to terms with society but did not need to die.
Imagine this if you will. You are a Computer Science major working on a mobile app that would help students at your college access their accounts using their mobile phones. During the development process you discover a major vulnerability that would allow anyone to access virtually all data that the college has collected on its 250,000+ students (including their social security numbers). You would want to alert the IT department right away wouldn't you? Well this scenario happened to Ahmed Al-Khabaz at Dawson College in Canada. Khabaz brought the vulnerability to the attention of François Paradis, the Director of Information Services and Technology who said that he would work with the vendor to patch the issue. A few days later, Khabaz ran a program to test whether or not the vulnerability had been patched. The vendor, having been alerted to the issue, was watching and alerted the University. The University decided to expell Khabaz for running the program without permission.
Brendan Spaar thinks that Mr. Khabaz should have just kept his mouth shut about the vulnerability. The University was looking for a reason to kick him out and found it. Things aren't all that bad for Khabaz though. He has several job offers including one from Skytech Technologies, the vendor responsible for the security vulnerability.
Brendan Spaar is a technology blogger from Forsyth County, GA. Since 2008 he has had a major presence on the web from Alpharetta to Georgia you can find many of his posts all over the internet. This is the technology blog where you will not find arrest or mugshot photos of people but instead you will find