Aaron Swartz was regarded as one of the internets bright lights, a programming and information activist that took his own life at the young age of 26. He was a leading hand in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS and a co-founder of Reddit, but it was his work in social justice and political organizing combined with his passion for freedom of information that lead to a two-year legal nightmare where he was facing up to 25 years in jail.
Growing up Aaron started to realise that all the things around him that he has been told where natural and just the way things were, and always would be, just weren’t natural at all. They were things that could be changed, and they were things that more importantly were wrong and should change. And once he had realised that, there was no going back.
Reading by the age of three, Swartz was an information prodigy that was fascinated with the way the information worked online. In an information technology age that could even the playing field for all of us across the planet, Aaron wanted to know why we aren’t using it the right way?
Using the internet as his tool to fight the big corporations from concealing information from the world, he was a forward thinker than believed this tool would give each of the license to speak and be heard. But for Aaron, the government had different plans. They criticized the way he and others were handling information. They followed him, spied on him, and even arresting and strip searching him, a person who has never been a violent man towards anyone. Over night it was as if his world had stopped, and even through the tough times he continued to lead during the investigation, even fighting the now infamous SOPA from passing, but for Aaron, things just wouldn’t be the same.
The Internet’s Own Boy is a story that touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a legend.