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In October 2006, based largely on the success of Reddit, Not A Bug was acquired by Condé Nast Publications, the owner of Wired magazine. One of his more notorious works that supports activism is Deaddrop, now renamed to Secure Drop, a platform for secure communication between journalists and sources (whistleblowers) used at several news organizations, including Pro Publica, The Intercept, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. He was referring to a series of protests against the bill by numerous websites that was described by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as the biggest in Internet history, with over 115,000 sites altering their webpages.
Swartz led the first activism event of his career with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, delivering thousands of "Honor Kennedy" petition signatures to Massachusetts legislators asking them to fulfill former Senator Ted Kennedy's last wish by appointing a senator to vote for health care reform. In 2008, Swartz downloaded about 2.7 million federal court documents stored in the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) database managed by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Two days after the prosecution rejected a counter-offer by Swartz, he was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, where he had hanged himself.
At age 14, he became a member of the working group that authored the RSS 1.0 web syndication specification.
In 2010, he became a research fellow at Harvard University's Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption, directed by Lawrence Lessig.
He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.
Although Infogami's platform was abandoned after Not A Bug was acquired, Infogami's software was used to support the Internet Archive's Open Library project and the web framework was used as basis for many other projects by Swartz and many others.
In early fall of 2005, Swartz worked with the founders of another nascent Y-Combinator firm Reddit, to rewrite their Lisp codebase using Python and In 2011–2012, Swartz, Kevin Poulsen, and James Dolan designed and implemented Dead Drop, a system that allows anonymous informants to send electronic documents without fear of disclosure.In May 2013, the first instance of the software was launched by The New Yorker under the name Strongbox.When discovered, a video camera was placed in the room to film Swartz and Swartz's computer was left untouched.Once video was captured of Swartz, the download was stopped and Swartz identified.