The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz


About: 

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 – currently the most popular social news website in the world – 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 in January of this year, at the age of 26.

Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. The last few years have brought an unprecedented legal crackdown on whistleblowers, activists, leakers and journalists. This film is a personal story of the consequences of that crackdown. It is the story of a tech millionaire forgoing traditional startup culture and putting his programming skills in the service of social justice, and a story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

Distributors: FilmBuff (Theatrical/VOD), Pivot (TV)
Producer/Director: Brian Knappenberger
Executive Producers: Charles Annenberg Weingarten, Zach Braff, Mason Fink

Participant Media