After watching The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, I have come to the realization that our government gains its control over the people by withholding information that would empower us to demand change. The moment in the documentary that impacted me the most was here, at 25:33-25:59.
Swartz had always been very clear about his intentions and they were never targeted toward bringing down the government, instead he only wanted to give people access to our supposed “public” domain. Swartz encouraged the people to dig deeper than instructed or expected, to question everything, to never settled, and he was charged as a criminal for it. A criminal, a felon, for obtaining what the government considered too much information. If you didn’t know knowledge is literally power, please understand this now. History repeats it self, and all that has happened in our country has been written down, kept track of, and mostly hidden or locked away. Doesn’t that bother you? To know that truth is being controlled and hidden? It bothered Swartz and those who followed him, it certainly bothers me and I can only hope one day to have half the courage Swartz did.
The government did not have to handle the Aaron Swartz case the way they did, but they NEEDED to make an example out of Swartz so that no one would ever dare repeat his actions. However, all our justice system really did was to teach other programmers and activist to be more careful, to work in silence. We must never give up. As long as we live in ignorance, we will forever be slaves and puppets. It is time to start questioning.