Tag: federal

Aaron Swartz, In Rememberance, and The Future

Aaron Swartz, a young and ingenious programmer and creator, as well as a passionate activist who believed that information was a currency that no one should be deprived of it. As a teenager he had co-created RSS and Reddit. He also became a tireless and endearing advocate for a number of connectivity and access related causes, he co-wrote the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto, which called for activists to “liberate” information locked up by corporations and publishers. Demand Progress was also co-founded by Swartz, an online advocacy group. He led a brilliant and short life, contributed such great acts of service for the public and has changed the world. Reshaping the Internet, questioning our understanding and assumptions of intellectual property, and creating many of the tools we use in our daily online lives. On January 11,2017 it will be four years since he took his own life. He was 26.

Swartz had been an extremely effective organizer, and a fierce proponent of the open access movement. He viewed big money, both private and corporate, as the corrupting influence on institutions and centralization of power structures. The US government introduced its SOPA Bill on October 26, 2011. Essentially an “anti-piracy” bill which would have given content owners (read studios and publishing houses) extraordinary powers to shut down sites that they would have copyright claims against – these actions would be enabled without a single court appearance. Demand Progress launched the campaign to fight the SOPA bill. Garnering huge support, a coordinated protest and public education campaign was designed and implemented. Scores of Internet websites participated in the formal protest, temporarily closing and shutting down their sites or redirecting users to a message opposing the legislation. The blackout protest against SOPA, also with physical protests in major cities, was a massive success and the bill failed.