Aaron Swartz was a computer programmer, hacktivist, and a casualty of a capitalistic society hellbent on monetizing everything. I thought the documentary was revealed what is wrong with our society and how people can twist the “justice system” to vilify people. A couple of things stood out to me in this documentary:
- He did not use any of the materials that he illegally downloaded. He was apprehended before he even had a chance to share it with anyone or even use it himself, so I was confused about what they were supposed to be charging him with. Meanwhile, there are government officials that have proven ties to certain foreign countries and commit all types of fraud but…
2. JSTOR dropped the charges. If there is no complainant and they didn’t feel that they had been defrauded, what’s the complaint? The people who he “stole” from didn’t find it serious enough but a prosecutor with an agenda had the right to repeatedly harass him?
3. The prosecutor admitted that they wanted to make an example out of him. Maybe I watch too many crime shows, but that clearly proves a bias or something. Stephen Hymann should have never been allowed to harass him or his friends and family to “make a point.” I think it also reveals a deeper and more sinister part of our government: the part that needs to protect profit above anything else. The only reason they would’ve needed to make an example out of Aaron is to deter people from doing what he did. They were afraid that more people would realize that information is a right that we should all have, especially in the digital age that we’re in.
Personally, I don’t think that Aaron committed suicide solely because of the case. I think people like Aaron are normally troubled; too smart for the world and often misunderstood. I’m not saying he would’ve committed suicide eventually, but the ridicule and villification of his actions probably confirmed what he already thought: he wasn’t meant to fit in this world. I hope that the Internet’s Boy is resting in peace.