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The Internet's Own Boy 2014

NR CC

Chronicling programming prodigy Aaron Swartz's efforts crusading for open access and the resulting legal nightmare and tragedy that ensued, "The Internet's Own Boy" is a dynamic portrait of a brilliant tech millionaire who renounced the values of Silicon Valley startup culture and used technology to tirelessly fight for social justice, no matter what the cost.

Starring:
Tim Berners-Lee, Cindy Cohn
Runtime:
1 hour, 44 minutes

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By Kristi Gilleland TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 6, 2014
Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I loved the way this movie made clear the price that was paid for the feds hounding Aaron Swartz like they did. The world lost a beautiful, beautiful heart and mind.
To me, the feds absolutely killed him. They certainly hounded him to death no matter what. There's no telling what we, as a people, really lost when we lost Aaron.
I watched the movie with my two older teens, who were very interested in the movie and watched it to the end. We had a bit of discussion about various things, but they remembered the Internet blackout. They remembered the public grieving for this loss.
I felt the movie was very good - to me it could have been a bit more clear about the fact that the documents were in the public domain, and exactly what that meant. It did portray it well to me, but I'm just not sure if a lot of people would understand it or not. The movie, if it has a fault (if one could ever consider it a fault) is not dumbed down.
I especially enjoyed the interviews with his family and brother, and the footage of him as a small child. I felt it was a very well put together documentary that highlights a lot of very important issues as it tells the Aaron Swartz story.
We all really liked it, and it was nice to get my teens thinking and talking about Internet issues and overcriminalization. It was released under creative commons, another wonderful idea beneficial to all people that Aaron was an early architect of.

I'm also glad that I paid for the movie. I want to support good documentaries like this, and see it a bit as a memorial.
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I like to think of myself as well informed, but in talking with other audience members after we exited the press screening of this wonderful (and tragic) story, we realized how much we did NOT know!

"The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz" is the full name of this US sponsored documentary. It is a tribute to Aaron Swartz, who championed open sourcing (he helped develop the basic Internet protocol RSS and co-founded Reddit) and believed in social justice, but committed suicide in 2013.

Our 2014 Seattle International Film Festival press screening audience was riveted by this compelling story about a highly principled young man who wanted to make the world a better place. Aaron is a happy, articulate fellow in news clips, a bubbly little guy in home movies and a hero in personal interviews with friends, colleagues and lovers. He was a programming protégé (attending national conferences by age 14) and an information activist.

Governmental agencies, already guilty of condoning abuses perpetrated by the big banks, wanted to demonstrate their diligence by prosecuting this young man. Aaron Swartz believed public information should be public, not locked up by for-profit agencies. He believed intellectual property, developed at tax payers' expense, should not be locked up by publicly funded institutions like MIT, and only made available to potential users for a fee to a for-profit company. The Obama Administration used the "Terms and Conditions" fine print for Internet use to charge him with seven felonies.

I know, I know, that paragraph needs to be re-read several times. It would be easier to go see the movie.
Read more ›
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To the producers of this movie, thank you. You've shared a sad story that marks a moment of loss greater than any of us might realize.. To America, please note that corporate greed and the ignorance of our leadership has officially snuffed out your promise of freedom. It's over. And to Arron, God bless you. Perhaps we didn't deserve your high ideals and pure genius.
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There's no doubt that Aaron Swartz did many great things.

And there is also no doubt in my mind that over zealous, perhaps even scared prosecutors in our free country contributed to ending the beginning of his legacy.

But his legacy can live on, through you.

Let's make Aaron's Law a reality, and work together to preserve an open, sharing community and the Internet.

This film was an excellent documentary of a genius who tragically left us way too early in his life, but who also gave us the gift and the tools to spread knowledge.

I highly recommend you watch it.

And here's to Aaron.
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I don't consider myself a technologically savvy individual by any stretch, but the filmmaker's here tell a story not about computer science, but a story about the person that operates the computer to make the world a better place. We can all take away something from the story of Aaron Swartz, whose star burned out just as it began to shine at its brightest.

I highly recommend watching this look at open information and how much needs to be done in the way in the way of how information is governed in our modern society and how Aaron and his determination went a long way toward a better society.
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Great book - goes through the life, and trials of Aaron Swartz as he managed to become the 'bully victim' of the justice department. In short, this is what happened:
On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested by MIT campus police for breaking-and-entering charges, after downloading academic journal articles from JSTOR, and academic digitized journal database. Federal prosecutors charged him with two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. These violations carried a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution and supervised release. Aaron was offered a plea bargain of six months in a federal prison, which he declined. Four days after that he committed suicide.

Many people felt he had been bullied by the Justice department and cited several federal officers as examples in blowing the case against Swartz out of proportion. Swartz was a sensitive, brilliant young man who had a highly developed social conscience stemming from his development as a child prodigy growing up within an extraordinary family. Many people, including myself, feel that given his already incredible contributions while still young, that society was cheated by having this young man driven to suicide through harassment by federal officials bent on making an example out of him. He was a giver, a genius so committed to others - what an awful loss for the rest of us.
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