To supporters, Swartz was protagonist for a cause


BOSTON (AP) — Internet activist Aaron Swartz has been eulogized as a martyred hero since his suicide in his New York apartment last week.

But those closest to the hacker prodigy say he wasn't out to be a hero. They say he was a shy young man who felt government and big business had hijacked the web.

In the end, Swartz didn't understand how hard the government would come down on him.

Swartz was charged with 13 felonies in 2011 after he was accused of using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's computer network to illegally download nearly 5 million academic articles.

Swartz's death touched off a backlash against prosecutors, including a petition calling on President Barack Obama to fire U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, a flood of copyrighted academic papers put online for anyone to see and furious rants on Twitter.


AP National Writer Allen G. Breed reported from Raleigh, N.C.

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