Aaron Swartz, the Internet freedom advocate who committed suicide in mid-January, was an intern in Florida Congressman Alan Grayson’s office after the onset of the economic crisis. Grayson recently paid tribute to Swartz at a memorial service in Washington, D.C.
Grayson compared the loss of Swartz to the suicide of 20th-century mathematician Alan Turing. Turing developed the basis for modern computers and helped Britain and the United States defeat the Nazis during World War II by breaking Nazi communication codes. Afterward he was convicted of homosexuality—a crime in the U.K. at the time—and barred from the government’s cryptography labs and forced to take estrogen injections. He committed suicide two years later.
“[W]ho lost, out of that?” Grayson asked. “Well, Alan Turing lost. But so did all of we. We lost as well. All of us who would have benefited from that first, and second, and the third Nobel Prizes that Alan Turing had in him. And that Aaron Swartz had in him.”