NEW YORK — Portraying his suicide as the product of injustice, friends and supporters at a memorial Saturday for free-information advocate Aaron Swartz called for changing computer-crime laws and the legal system itself.
At a New York ceremony that was part tribute and part rallying cry, Swartz — who killed himself this month as he faced trial on hacking charges — was painted as a precocious technologist, erudite activist and hounded hero.
To prosecutors, Swartz. 26, was a thief whose aims to make information available didn't excuse the illegal acts he was charged with: breaking into a wiring closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and tapping into its computer network to download millions of paid-access scholarly articles to share publicly.
But Swartz's girlfriend said the case drove him to his death.