Aaron Hillel Swartz is one of the most prominent figures of the new generation. He was a genius who was able to learn how to develop programs by himself and was a co-founder of the popular social news website Reddit. Aaron also became an internet activist and established the Demand Progress organization introducing the RSS feed format to the public.
“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” is an emotional documentary that shares the story of activist Aaron Swartz and the unfortunate circumstances that inevitably led to his death. It details the huge influence that Swartz imprinted onto the internet and focused primarily on his 2-year legal battle with the Federal government because he initiated a movement for social justice and political organization. Most people point out to this spat with the authorities as the primary reason why Swartz committed suicide at the age of 26.
Aaron Swartz was threatened with the possibility of facing jail-time for 35 years and to pay $4 million in damages for downloading millions of academic journal articles from the digital library Jstor made by MIT. His intentions were good as all he ever wanted was to make them accessible for everyone. Swartz’s death left a bitter taste in the mouths of the public. He was considered a celebrity in the internet world and this film points out the possible effects of ignoring the power of the internet and its connection to civil freedom.
Directed by Brian Knappenberger, “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” raises questions about the existing cyber laws and their punishments. It presents an argument that the authorities should focus more attention on other crimes murder and theft rather than punishing severely those fighting for civil freedom.