One year after the death of Aaron Swartz, a group of Internet activists joined up to protest against what they call “mass suspicionless surveillance.”
The effort, dubbed “the day we fight back,” sets out a number of ways for the general public to participate. Technology activist Cory Doctorow, who first met Swartz when he was 14 or 15, writes in Boing Boing that people should get involved “just as we did with the SOPA fight.”
The “day we fight back” will also celebrate the Stop Online Piracy Act’s failure some two years ago.
Doctorow and other prominent friends of Swartz are also featured in a new documentary called “The Internet’s Own Boy.” Funding for the documentary primarily came from a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. In a clip shared with VentureBeat, Swartz discusses the fight against SOPA, and he speaks up against the spying efforts of the National Security Agency.
On Jan. 11, 26-year-old Swartz hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment. His death was a huge loss for the Internet community. Swartz was credited with co-developing Reddit and RSS, and later, the political action group DemandProgress.
At the time of his death, he was facing 50 years in prison for downloading academic journals from MIT’s servers.
The documentary trailer is well worth a watch, as it contains some prescient quotes about the NSA.
“It is shocking to think that the accountability is so lax that they don’t even have sort of basic statistics about how big the spying program is,” Swartz says in the clip. “If the answer is, ‘Oh, we’re spying on so many people we can’t possibly even count them,’ then that’s an awful lot of people.” He added, “They [the NSA] just came back and said we can’t give you a number at all. That’s scary.”
It also features interviews with academics and Internet denizens who were inspired by Swartz.
“I think Aaron was trying to make the world work… he was ahead of his time,” says World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee in the documentary.