Aaron Swartz – Hacker or Hero?

Aaron Swartz – Hacker or Hero?

So Aaron Swartz is dead,   He discovered a pattern of big cooperation swaying legal opinion by funding.  You can read about that here:

 https://www.stanfordlawreview.org/print/article/punitive-damages-remunerated-research-and-the-legal-profession/ 

While at Stanford, Swartz had worked with a law student to download all the law review articles in the Westlaw database, to map funders of legal research with research conclusions. The result of that research was published in the Stanford Law Review, and showed a troubling connection between funders and their conclusions.  At the time of Aaron’s alleged “crime,” he was a fellow at my Center at Harvard. The work of the Center? Studying the corruption of academic research (among other institutions) caused by money.

This 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.

 

This is a brilliant documentary and well worth a watch.  This guy made a huge impact on the internet freedom we know today.

 

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