The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz tells 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, 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 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. Director / Writer and Producer Brian Knappenberger (We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists) joins us for a conversation on what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.
“A spellbinding portrait of the Internet whiz kid’s life and political convictions, which were cut short by his suicide in early 2013.” – Geoff Berkshire, Variety
“…gripping advocacy filmmaking that took less than a year, start to finish, and will introduce a much wider audience to the issues behind the life and death of Aaron Swartz.” – Andrew O’Hehir, salom.com
“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz connects the dots of Swartz’s past, assembling a vivid portrait of a sensitive genius with a strong moral sense.” – Chris Packham, Village Voice
“The film is far from a technical matter, fiercely promoting Swartz’s legacy and challenging us with the same questions its central subject was compelled to ask.” – Nick Prigge, Slant Magazine