Other hackers have killed themselves, too. Before there was Aaron Swartz, there was Ilya Zhitomirskiy, a 22-year-old founder of the social-network site Diaspora*, frequently described as the “anti-Facebook” because it gives users control over their personal data rather than packaging it for advertisers. Before Ilya, there was Len Sassaman, a brilliant cryptographer who helped make Internet communications anonymous, especially when governments or powerful corporations might want to nose in on them. Before Sassaman, there was Christopher Lightfoot, who was revered for his daring, Swartz-style bulk downloads of British government data. And before Lightfoot, there was Gene Kan, who made a name for himself in the peer-to-peer movement—the technology used to swap music and video files outside the reach of their copyright holders.
The New Republic: “Aaron Swartz Profile - The Internet Will Never Save You” [read]