Hi, Viewers, this post is not for you unless
- you understand your privacy.
- you understand your rights and you feel uncomfortable sharing with it.
- you love the art of coding.
Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?Henry David Thoreau
Who is Aaron Swartz?
I will not bore you by telling that Aaron Hillel Swartz was the co-founder of Reddit, a social news and entertainment website. He was a very bright student at a very young age. For him, coding was like magic using which you can make anything work for you. He did not believe in business and making money instead he raised the issue of the freedom of the internet and freedom of speech as he wanted to make this world a better place.
In today’s world, everyone gets the license to speak but the point is who gets heard.Aaron Swartz
After selling Reddit, Aaron started working for the corporate company. He was a person who loved solving real-world problems. Soon he hated working for cooperation as he was annoyed by the culture of redoing the same work again and again, as a result, he stopped going to the job getting himself fired.
Whatever he did, he did for the people, this is what infuriated the for-profit company.
The PACER policy and the FBI Scanner.
He worked for giving the public access to the public domain in PACER(Public Access to Court electronic Record) document. These documents were the legal documents which contained the court proceedings which could benefit lawyers and students but they were not reader-friendly also these were not freely accessible. Interestingly, PACER’s per year profit was 120 million dollars which were nothing around their maintenance fees. Swartz joined hands with the thumb drive corps and build the code which automated the downloads of around 20 million documents. By this Swartz came under the scanner of the FBI. Later the charges were dropped as this unveiled the lots of privacy violations in the court documents.
JSTOR – Swartz The Cat and Mouse game.
JSTOR website contained the entire human knowledge online related journals, research paper and document published by scholars, scientists, etc. These were most of the time funded from the taxpayer’s money or sometimes by government grants but the user has to pay again for downloading them. Swartz questioned this locked knowledge culture is like developing the wheel which has already been invented.
MIT has the access to JSTOR’s website of which Aaron took the opportunity. He registered his new Acer laptop as Ghost laptop and started downloading the academic journals and as they block his IP address he used to switch to another IP address and continued downloading journals.
JSTOR charged accessing fees for the research papers and journals which Aaron thinks must be free so that it is beneficial to the public at large. While unlikely his laptop was spotted by the authorities and instead of trying to stop him they made the recording by setting up the spy cameras to make a case against him.
Aaron was arrested by the local Cambridge police and soon it was dragged to the United States Secret Service. He was unaware of the conspiracy that Secret Service wants to make an example of him though later on JSTOR pulled off from the case and everyone thought the case would be dismissed but Stephen Heymann (Asst. U.S Attorney, lawyer) made some 13 felonies ( serious charges equivalent to murder and rape) against him. Though no evidence to prove the government trying to suppress Aaron’s family and his close friends to get something out of them.
Aaron became Internet’s Own Boy.
The charges which were framed against Aaron were much greater. Aaron believed in social justice and freedom of public websites. Instead of making mountains of cash he tried making this world a farrier place by promoting freedom to connect.
We should never let Aaron’s efforts go down he always questioned the unjust law that exists in our society. He always encouraged people to not just listen to what is being taught to us by our teacher, parent or society, we should learn to question everything. This is how we can solve real-life problems in today’s world.
Aaron Swartz was really an Internet’s own boy. After his demise, Aaron was included in the Internet’s Hall of Fame, 2013 for his tremendous contribution to the internet society.