Southern California breaking news and trends

Apparent suicide by Reddit co-founder inspires many online tributes

Flicker / Creative Commons

Internet activist Aaron Swartz, pictured at a Wiki Meetup in Boston in 2009, has reportedly committed suicide.

Aaron Swartz, a co-founder of Reddit and activist, who fought to make online content free to the public has been found dead.

A spokeswoman for New York's medical examiner says 26-year-old Aaron Swartz hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment and was found Friday.

Swartz was a prodigy who as a young teenager helped create RSS. He co-founded the social news website Reddit and directed the political action group Demand Progress that campaigns against Internet censorship.

In 2011, he was arrested in Boston and charged with stealing millions of scientific journals from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Swartz pleaded not guilty. His federal trial on computer fraud charges was to begin next month. If convicted, he could have faced decades in prison and a fortune in fines.


Surfin' LAX: Free Wi-Fi arrives at Los Angeles International Airport, possibly this summer

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved a plan on Monday with Advanced Wireless Group LLC (AWG) to provide free Wi-Fi internet service to travelers at Los Angeles International Airport.  

Until now, the LAX jet-set have been riding the Wi-Fi pay wave at $9.99 per session through T-Mobile. The new, free wireless internet service with AWG could begin as early as this summer, according to Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

Here's how it will work: The first 45 minutes are free. After that, users can opt to pay for additional "premium and uninterrupted" Wi-Fi service for a 24-hour period, LAWA announced. LAX representative Katherine Alvarado told KPCC that plan details were forthcoming.

AWG will be required under the 2-year agreement to operate, maintain and upgrade the system for a minimum annual guaranteed revenue to LAWA of $283,333 in the first year, $380,000 the following year, and $420,000 in year three, if options are exercised.  


Scarlett Johansson's hacker pleads guilty, could do 60 years

83rd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

John Shearer/Getty Images

Actress Scarlett Johansson arrives at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on February 27, 2011. A man faces 60 years in prison for hacking into her account and the accounts of other celebrities.

Mila Kunis

Universal Pictures

Still of Mila Kunis in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

Super Bowl XLV

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Singer Christina Aguilera sings the national anthem during Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011. Aguilera was one of several celebrities targeted by the hacker.

Christopher Chaney, the 35-year-old Floridian who hacked into email accounts of beautiful (and hard to spell) stars like Scarlett Johannsson, plead guilty to nine counts today in Los Angeles including unauthorized access to a computer and wiretapping.

Prosecutors say Chaney victimized over 50 entertainment industry individuals including the likes of "Black Swan" star Mila Kunis and "Dirrty" singer Christina Aguilera, according to the AP

In late July Chaney will receive his sentencing where he could be ordered to spend 60 years in prison and could be forced to pay over to $2 million in fines and restitution.

Prosecutors said Chaney illegally accessed the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry between November 2010 and October 2011.

Among other dirty deeds that Chaney did with his illegally obtained access to email accounts, he intercepted nude photos Johannsson intented for her then-husband Ryan Reynolds. Those photos eventually ended up online.