The Internet’s Own Boy by Brian Knappenberger
SPECIAL re-issue on the fourth anniversary of Aaron’s death
This program is based on the soundtrack of the 2014 movie: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. His death at age 26 on January 11, 2013 made the internet light up with grief and also anger at a judicial system that haunted and hunted him. He was facing 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines for bulk-downloading from a site, JSTOR, that was freely available to Massachusetts Institute of Technology students.
“Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity” said director, Brian Knappenberger. “This is the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was his groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal battle with the Federal Government. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.”
The life and work of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and Aaron Swartz are related around the question what the internet can be in our lives: an instrument of surveillance or of social change. And as the future of the internet and net neutrality and the role of the FCC all hang in the balance again in 2017 the extraordinary life and ideas of Aaron Swartz are worth remembering.