Remembering Aaron Swartz

Author
Henk Buursen

Two years ago, Aaron Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) died. He was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer and Internet hacktivist who was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS and the Markdown publishing format, the organization Creative Commons, the website framework web.py and the social news site, Reddit, in which he became a partner after its merger with his company, Infogami.

The Internet’s Own Boy: documentary about Aaron Swartz
Film by Brian Knappenberger - Luminant Media
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

The film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron's story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

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