The Image Atlas Web site they created together will continue, but Simon notes, "the wizard is gone."
When Taryn Simon, a photographer and artist, collaborated with the computer programmer Aaron Swartz last April, she noticed that the way he logged into his online accounts seemed exceptionally complex. â€œThe length of time it took to enter his password conveyed a certain pressure that was upon him,â€ Simon told me. And indeed, he was facing criminal charges at the time, following his arrest in 2011 for illegally accessing Jstor, a private scholarly database. â€œThere was this sense that something was closing in on him,â€ Simon added. â€œSomething that needed to be guarded against.â€
Despite the governmentâ€™s case against him, Swartz, who committed suicide last week at the age of 26, was regarded by some as an Internet folk hero and a visionary activist devoted to making locked-up information of public interest freely available.