A Tribute to Aaron Swartz

Off the keyboard of Peter

I would like to pause this investigation for a moment to discuss a matter possibly related to it.


The world recently suffered a great loss, when it lost Aaron Swartz to suicide?

Aaron was like a beacon of shinning light in a mostly gray and foreboding world. He was highly intelligent and principled. He made all of our lives brighter. He was in the forefront of the fight to keep the internet a place of openness and honesty rather than let it become a closed tool, only beneficial to powerful interests such as the mass media now is.

Aaron was directly responsible for helping create the RSS newsfeed standard that caused document 1, referred to in the investigation, linked to at the top of this article, to be discovered.

We do not know for sure who first discovered the existence of this document. However it happened, the discovery was a massive win for internet openness and freedom. Whoever that person was would need to have a deep understanding of how and where information is stored on the internet. Also of how information is indexed for easy retrieval.

Aaron was that type of individual. He also had the intent to serve Truth and Justice, particularly on the Internet.

If I had to pick just one person capable of making such a discovery I would pick Aaron.

The events at Sandy Hook likely attracted his attention. He would then start researching on the internet to find the truth, using the needed tools, which he was intimately familiar with.

RSS feeds, the standards of which he helped put in place, allow search engines to report news items created on the internet, about important events, almost instantly. Being an expert on how RSS feeds function, and where the records that such feeds create are stored, he then likely started to search through those records to see what he could find.

Aaron likely discovered the RSS feed record the Arlington Schools Website sent out that announced, rightly or wrongly, that the horrendous events at Sandy Hook School occurred on December 10th, 2012, 4 days before they actually happened on December 14th 2012. Discovering the RSS record would have allowed Aaron to find the Google cache record displayed as evidence in our investigation, with only one click.

In the normal course of events it is highly unlikely anyone would ever have found that cache record. Only the RSS record would publicly show it existed. To initially find the record directly in the cache would require someone knowing the document’s exact URL and name. If no one knew of the documents existence, they could not know what to look for.

Whoever the person was that first found the document in Google’s cache, we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude. I strongly suspect Aaron was actually the one to discover that record at Google. He likely paid for that discovery with his life.

With that highly likely possibility in mind I would like to dedicate this Investigation to Aaron. Whether or not he was the one who first found this record, his efforts in developing RSS feeds were instrumental in their being discovered.

We all owe it to Aaron to make sure that his efforts to make the world a better place were not in vain. We must continue the struggle he was engaged in, and attempt to build upon his efforts, until the world is a place of justice and honor such as he attempted to create.

This investigation would not be taking place without principled people like Aaron struggling to protect everyone’s rights.

Aaron, Thank you.


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