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June 30, 2014
laughingsquid:

‘The Internet’s Own Boy’ Documentary About Internet Activist Aaron Swartz Now Available in Theaters and Online

It’s on the Internet Archive, thanks to a Creative Commons license—a license that, by the way, Aaron Swartz helped build. You have no excuse to not watch this film. It’s an important story that deserves your attention.

laughingsquid:

‘The Internet’s Own Boy’ Documentary About Internet Activist Aaron Swartz Now Available in Theaters and Online

It’s on the Internet Archive, thanks to a Creative Commons license—a license that, by the way, Aaron Swartz helped build. You have no excuse to not watch this film. It’s an important story that deserves your attention.

11:56 // 2 months ago
July 30, 2013
12:39 // 1 year ago
March 9, 2013
nprfreshair:

For your weekend reading, Larissa MacFarquhar’s New Yorker profile of programmer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz, “Requiem for a Dream.” Much has been written about Swartz in the wake of his January suicide and you might well — and understandably so — be Swartz-ed out. That said, this piece illustrates him not as martyr figure or genius figure or any other kind of figure, but as a complicated, brilliant and difficult human being. MacFarquhar uses block quotes from the people closest to him and juxtaposes the quotes against one another to illuminating effect. This paragraph in particular struck me. It articulates so well the nature of writing online and what effect that can have on readers. I’ve been thinking about it all week:

Prose creates a strong illusion of presence—so strong that it is difficult to destroy it. It is hard to remember that you are reading and not hearing. The illusion is stronger when the prose is online, partly because you are aware that it might be altered or redacted at any moment—the writer may be online, too, as you read it—and partly because the Internet has been around for such a short time that we implicitly assume (as we do not with a book) that the writer of a blog post is alive.

-Nell
Image of Aaron Swartz via John-Brown/Flickr

Aaron Swartz’s suicide was a tragic bookend to a deeply amazing life, and this New Yorker article is appropriately shot through with complexity and feeling, relying in large part on varying accounts from Swartz’s friends, and from his own blog. A most worthy addendum to this man’s atypical life.

nprfreshair:

For your weekend reading, Larissa MacFarquhar’s New Yorker profile of programmer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz, “Requiem for a Dream.” Much has been written about Swartz in the wake of his January suicide and you might well — and understandably so — be Swartz-ed out. That said, this piece illustrates him not as martyr figure or genius figure or any other kind of figure, but as a complicated, brilliant and difficult human being. MacFarquhar uses block quotes from the people closest to him and juxtaposes the quotes against one another to illuminating effect. This paragraph in particular struck me. It articulates so well the nature of writing online and what effect that can have on readers. I’ve been thinking about it all week:

Prose creates a strong illusion of presence—so strong that it is difficult to destroy it. It is hard to remember that you are reading and not hearing. The illusion is stronger when the prose is online, partly because you are aware that it might be altered or redacted at any moment—the writer may be online, too, as you read it—and partly because the Internet has been around for such a short time that we implicitly assume (as we do not with a book) that the writer of a blog post is alive.


-Nell

Image of Aaron Swartz via John-Brown/Flickr

Aaron Swartz’s suicide was a tragic bookend to a deeply amazing life, and this New Yorker article is appropriately shot through with complexity and feeling, relying in large part on varying accounts from Swartz’s friends, and from his own blog. A most worthy addendum to this man’s atypical life.

14:44 // 1 year ago
March 6, 2013
latimes:

Aaron Swartz’s memory lives on 
This week, the New Yorker joined up with a number of outlets who have tried to understand the now-famous Internet activist and pioneer, a group that includes, Slate, New York magazine, Rolling Stone, the Atlantic and your very own L.A. Times.
From journalist Matt Pearce, who has been covering Swartz since his death:

Swartz was, put simply, a lot of things to very many people, and his death amid the federal criminal prosecution accusing him of improperly downloading millions of academic articles has inspired a flourishing of stories, blog posts, memorials and profiles erected in tribute — or condemnation — for the hacktivist’s most controversial exploit.

What do you think Swartz’s lasting legacy will be?
Photo: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

The really sad part about this is that he did all these great things while he was still alive, and it took his death to force everyone to notice. Why does it always seem to happen like that? (Also, don’t forget The New Republic’s take, which was one of the best of the bunch.)

latimes:

Aaron Swartz’s memory lives on

This week, the New Yorker joined up with a number of outlets who have tried to understand the now-famous Internet activist and pioneer, a group that includes, Slate, New York magazine, Rolling Stone, the Atlantic and your very own L.A. Times.

From journalist Matt Pearce, who has been covering Swartz since his death:

Swartz was, put simply, a lot of things to very many people, and his death amid the federal criminal prosecution accusing him of improperly downloading millions of academic articles has inspired a flourishing of stories, blog posts, memorials and profiles erected in tribute — or condemnation — for the hacktivist’s most controversial exploit.

What do you think Swartz’s lasting legacy will be?

Photo: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

The really sad part about this is that he did all these great things while he was still alive, and it took his death to force everyone to notice. Why does it always seem to happen like that? (Also, don’t forget The New Republic’s take, which was one of the best of the bunch.)

14:07 // 1 year ago
March 4, 2013
So this is where I was profoundly foolish. I told them about the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto. And in doing so, Aaron would explain to me later (and reporters would confirm), I made everything worse. This is what I must live with.
Journalist, and close friend of Aaron Swartz, Quinn Norton • Discussing her role in the case, during a long article she wrote for The Atlantic. Read the whole thing. This one quote does not do the story justice. But we recommend starting with the editor’s note from Alexis Madrigal. It’s a tough one to read, and shows how the federal government can break people down in federal cases.
10:25 // 1 year ago
February 25, 2013
From the New Republic’s cover story on Aaron Swartz:

Other hackers have killed themselves, too. Before there was Aaron Swartz, there was Ilya Zhitomirskiy, a 22-year-old founder of the social-network site Diaspora*, frequently described as the “anti-Facebook” because it gives users control over their personal data rather than packaging it for advertisers. Before Ilya, there was Len Sassaman, a brilliant cryptographer who helped make Internet communications anonymous, especially when governments or powerful corporations might want to nose in on them. Before Sassaman, there was Christopher Lightfoot, who was revered for his daring, Swartz-style bulk downloads of British government data. And before Lightfoot, there was Gene Kan, who made a name for himself in the peer-to-peer movement—the technology used to swap music and video files outside the reach of their copyright holders.
The particulars of each case were different, of course. Like Swartz, Sassaman had the occasional run-in with the government over his online exploits. Kan seemed to briefly make his peace with the powers-that-be by going to work for Sun Microsystems, the Silicon Valley giant. And, in any case, who can really say why anyone might take that tragic, irreversible step? But all in their own way came across as highly concentrated distillations of computer hacker culture: precocious, technically brilliant, bracingly idealistic. All were prone to disillusionment when reality fell short of their vision for it.

The piece ends on a tough question — whether we should put such child prodigies on a pedestal. “We want people doing this work, of course—in many cases, we need them doing it,” Noam Scheiber writes. "It’s just far from clear that we want them doing it before they can drive a car or buy a beer. In Aaron Swartz’s case, too many adults refused to see that a child isn’t a messiah or even a leader of men, however brilliant he may be. A child is just a child." Thoughts? Agree/disagree?

From the New Republic’s cover story on Aaron Swartz:

Other hackers have killed themselves, too. Before there was Aaron Swartz, there was Ilya Zhitomirskiy, a 22-year-old founder of the social-network site Diaspora*, frequently described as the “anti-Facebook” because it gives users control over their personal data rather than packaging it for advertisers. Before Ilya, there was Len Sassaman, a brilliant cryptographer who helped make Internet communications anonymous, especially when governments or powerful corporations might want to nose in on them. Before Sassaman, there was Christopher Lightfoot, who was revered for his daring, Swartz-style bulk downloads of British government data. And before Lightfoot, there was Gene Kan, who made a name for himself in the peer-to-peer movement—the technology used to swap music and video files outside the reach of their copyright holders.

The particulars of each case were different, of course. Like Swartz, Sassaman had the occasional run-in with the government over his online exploits. Kan seemed to briefly make his peace with the powers-that-be by going to work for Sun Microsystems, the Silicon Valley giant. And, in any case, who can really say why anyone might take that tragic, irreversible step? But all in their own way came across as highly concentrated distillations of computer hacker culture: precocious, technically brilliant, bracingly idealistic. All were prone to disillusionment when reality fell short of their vision for it.

The piece ends on a tough question — whether we should put such child prodigies on a pedestal. “We want people doing this work, of course—in many cases, we need them doing it,” Noam Scheiber writes"It’s just far from clear that we want them doing it before they can drive a car or buy a beer. In Aaron Swartz’s case, too many adults refused to see that a child isn’t a messiah or even a leader of men, however brilliant he may be. A child is just a child." Thoughts? Agree/disagree?

11:10 // 1 year ago
January 29, 2013
20:15 // 1 year ago
January 26, 2013
Anonymous has observed for some time now the trajectory of justice in the United States with growing concern. We have marked the departure of this system from the noble ideals in which it was born and enshrined. We have seen the erosion of due process, the dilution of constitutional rights, the usurpation of the rightful authority of courts by the “discretion” or prosecutors. We have seen how the law is wielded less and less to uphold justice, and more and more to exercise control, authority and power in the interests of oppression or personal gain.
A message posted to the hacked website of the U.S. Sentencing Commmission • Decrying the death by suicide of internet pioneer Aaron Swartz, whose family and friends have suggested was hounded towards suicide by an especially harsh prosecution being brought against him, for a large-scale downloading and alleged free releasing of academic articles (he faced a possible 35 years in prison, and 13 felony counts). Now, hacker group Anonymous has threatened vengeance over Swartz’s tragic death, having hacked the U.S. Sentencing Commission site and issuing a further threat that they’ve obtained information from secret government networks that they may release in retribution. The incident is being viewed as a “criminal investigation,” according to an FBI executive assistant director, Richard McFeely: “We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person’s or government agency’s network.” source
15:08 // 1 year ago
January 21, 2013
We thought the case was reasonably handled and we would not have done things differently. We’re going to continue doing the work of the office and of following our mission.
Christina DiIorio-Sterling, spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz • Commenting on what effect, or lack thereof,  Aaron Swartz’s suicide will have on the office going forward. In response to the statement, Swartz’s girlfriend reportedly told the Boston Herald that she was sad to see Ortiz not “taking this moment to reflect on the role of proportionality and judgment in the pursuit of justice.” source
16:03 // 1 year ago
January 18, 2013
"Was the prosecution of Mr. Swartz in any way retaliation for his exercise of his rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act?" Republican Senator John Cornyn has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder with some lengthy questions surrounding the lead up to Aaron Swartz’s death. Cornyn asks whether it was “the intention of the U.S. Attorney and/or her subordinates to ‘make an example’ of Mr. Swartz by prosecuting him,” and requests details as to what, if any, reviews the US attorney’s office carried out prior to Swartz’s prosecution. Whether anything will come of this is impossible to say, but it’s nice that someone in power is asking these questions (Photo credit: AP). source 

"Was the prosecution of Mr. Swartz in any way retaliation for his exercise of his rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act?" Republican Senator John Cornyn has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder with some lengthy questions surrounding the lead up to Aaron Swartz’s death. Cornyn asks whether it was “the intention of the U.S. Attorney and/or her subordinates to ‘make an example’ of Mr. Swartz by prosecuting him,” and requests details as to what, if any, reviews the US attorney’s office carried out prior to Swartz’s prosecution. Whether anything will come of this is impossible to say, but it’s nice that someone in power is asking these questions (Photo credit: AP)source 

18:41 // 1 year ago