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The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz


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Aaron Swartz, image via Huffington Post

Aaron Swartz was a prodigy computer programmer and outspoken information activist, and co-founder of the messageboard Reddit. As a teenager, he helped develop the omnipresent web feed format RSS, and later was instrumental in formulating Creative Commons licensing. While Swartz was a celebrity in computer programming and open source scenes, he only was jolted to the forefront of popular consciousness after he committed suicide at age 26 while under an FBI indictment for data theft. Swartz had been attempting to copy the entirety of JSTOR, likely to make it freely accessible to those who could not afford its steep fees, and became a target of the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Unit. “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” tells Swartz’s story through archival footage and interviews with family, friends and colleagues. The documentary also tells the story of a burgeoning internet that was being transformed from an academic invention to corporate-controlled property.

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee on Aaron Swartz:

Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.

Watch the documentary, freely accessible via Youtube, below.