The Internet’s Own Boy

The Story of Aaron Swartz

105 minutes 9.2/10 based on 92 votes

Aaron Swartz was a programmer, writer, and involved in activism that helped shape the Internet. A few of his major contributions he’s made to the technology world are, but not limited to, the invention of RSS feeds, the conceptualization of the Creative Commons, and his involvement in the popular social news site Reddit.

Once he had these major accomplishments under his belt, he became heavily involved in activism creating political watchdog websites and did everything he could to leverage the power of the Internet to promote positive change in the political sphere with intentions to get progressive politicians elected.

Then, something terrible happened that rocked Aaron’s world. He was arrested by the MIT police on charges of breaking and entering after downloading academic journals from the JSTOR digital library. Facing $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, Aaron refused a plea bargain deal where he would have to serve 6 months in federal prison. After having his counter-offer refused, Aaron was found hanging dead in his Brooklyn apartment, taking his own life at the age of 26.

The Internet’s Own Boy is a powerful homage to Aaron Swartz. Its debut at Sundance received a standing ovation. Mashable printed, “With the help of experts, The Internet’s Own Boy makes a clear argument: Swartz unjustly became a victim of the rights and freedoms for which he stood.”

This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • Tim

    Aaron seemed like a great guy. What a tragic loss.

  • Prod

    What’s the most important thing to the world and why are we not out there working on it? At least some understand and stand tall above all the corruption and tyrannical deception of this once great nation.

    • Rik

      did you know him personally ???

  • spikebat

    Tragic loss of a brilliant mind and one of the good guys. The comment made in the movie by one of Aaron’s friends about how the architects of the financial crisis have dinner with the president, yet the federal government chose to pursue their case against Aaron, shows what a disgrace the justice system has become. Shameful. RIP Aaron

  • Nu

    RIP Aaron :(
    I had know about him long time ago then i heard the news , Its sad that he is not here . His vision would have affected millions . Specially places like india where good information is so limited.
    This documentry is awesome.

  • Shugo

    still dont know if americans are so numb to the point they see these things their government is doing to their own citizens, assassinating their own people just like what happened with the 9/11, and a lot of american people knows this, and yet nobody does a real revolution like the egyptian one where presidents are overthrown. I’m still waiting for the day american people decide on a real revolution to get rid of all the bs that’s happening there.

  • Jordan Pauley

    I’m so inspired. I see the nexus between the civil rights struggles of the past and this, which is the foremost issue of our time; free access to the internet and public information. This is the new civil rights movement.

  • Anthony Venson

    Very amazing, brilliant, and compassionate man. His compassion come from using his brilliance to make life better for all men rather than make a buck. I applaud Aaron for creating opportunities and awareness to help people see the truth of the world we live in. So that they may stop being deceived and smothered with misinformation and lies.
    I stopped blinding accepting all that the government says and does long ago. It is good to have people like Aaron with the intelligence and insight to inform people of fallacies in our government system. So that people may come together and effect a change for the better.
    Great documentary.

    • Lisa Franklin

      well said,,,,bravo

  • delber gomez

    Why is there no mention of the fate of that chicken necked federal prosecutor Heymann? A power hungry, greedy, narrow minded protector of self. Because of his insecurity and need to move forward in the race to be somebody he is instrumental in the people of america losing a somebody……someone who made a difference and only god knows what he might have achieved. Instead we are left with the heymans of the world. This all makes me sick to my stomach.

  • Fla Guest

    fantastic story! How true the government seems to hunt the good idealists rather chasing the true menance of Internet society, the hackers and identify theft.

  • Lisa Lightning

    Left me heartbroken and so angry. This young man might have changed the world. Thank you for posting movie!! Sharing it widely.

    • Cori

      This young man DID change our world.
      It is now up to us to see the change through to its natural conclusion.

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