The first time I watched “The internet own boy” I was at one of my lowest points. It was a lazy early September afternoon, and I was killing time eating junk food, drinking soda, and browsing Netflix in a vain attempt to get some sad thoughts out of my mind, unsuccessfully.
Eventually, I found this flick and gave it a try; I knew about Aaron Swartz already, since the time of his battle against SOPA, and I had recollections of his role in creating Reddit, on top of, obviously, the absurd circumstances of his death. The movie did not add as such much more (but for those who do not know the history behind is a very well documented summary of Aaron’s life) but showed some sides of Aaron’s personality that did not transpire by just reading his statements back in the day of SOPA.
He was a kind soul, but most importantly, someone who genuinely believed that he could change the world; and not in a naive way, his speeches are very pragmatic and logic, and his understanding of the power of information crystal clear. However, he was moved by a contagious passion, which eventually made me snap out from my self-pity party in the blink of an eye. Few shots of the movie and I was fascinated and all ears.
At the end, I was enthusiastically surfing the Internet looking for more information and eventually I found the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto. More than a Manifesto, it should be called a hymn to freedom of information, sharing of knowledge and the importance of allowing to everyone the same access to culture. You might agree or disagree with the concept, but for whoever wants to read it with an open mind, it is an amazing food for thoughts on the eternal conundrum between copyright and access to information.
Aaron stood strongly for the free and complete access to information, which eventually ended in his arrest, investigation and, sadly, his suicide.
It is always tragic when someone commits suicide, but seeing a brilliant, extraordinarily passionate, smart, charismatic “boy” leaving this world hurts even more; he could still have done so much for realising his manifesto and he could have inspired so many more people.
Too bad he had to go, but for what is worth, thanks Aaron for the time you dedicated to making the internet a slightly more democratic place.