The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

The Internet Kid explores Aaron Swartz's life as a hacktivist and how it led to his demise. Brian Knappenberger's documentary shows how Swartz's knowledge and enthusiasm for the internet may have contributed to his death. Throughout the film, Swartz's interests in the computer world progress from fundamental applications to political and human rights activism. He was able to develop virtual forums that educated the masses about their political and individual rights because to his exceptional skills. However, Swartz's craving for virtual information did not appease the authorities, and he ended up being exposed to a tumultuous two-year legal battle (Knappenberger, n.p). Apparently, out of the frustrations that he was undergoing, he decided to commit suicide when he was merely 26 years. Although Swartz's activities on the internet had become illegal, however, one of the aspects that the society should reflect on is the safety and level of privacy that one enjoys while online.

Ideally, one of the vital lessons that the audience of this movie should focus on is that although Swartz had committed a crime by unlawfully accessing the MIT site, he was a target of authorities. Swartz had a remarkable online following and influence. Further, his participation in online activism made him a person of interest of the security agencies in America. Various cases of hacking have gone unnoticed. For instance, some sensitive government sites have been altered by cyber-attackers, but such activities have never been detected proactively. It is evident that most viewers of this movie could argue that Swartz is to blame or he initiated his self-destruction path.

However, what many people ignore in Swartz's case is that various clandestine cyber criminals have perpetrated their misdemeanors, but they have overwhelmed security measures for decades. What is evident in this case, is that Swartz was a target and authorities were monitoring his activities. Apparently, the society does not understand that maybe his death was as a result of extra surveillance on his internet activities. Seemingly, having been taken to court, he was under duress not to engage in his online work something that defeated his ego leading to his queer decision of committing suicide.

Swartz experience is an insight concerning the privacy of the online community. Increasing rates of cyber-crimes and cyber-supported misconducts compelled the government to focus on online activity. Although it is not widely accepted, extra-surveillance initiative is one of the strategies that governments have instituted in fighting what is perceived as cybercrime. However, one of the appalling considerations is that because of the level of anonymity that is involved with the virtual world, the government carries out these surveillance practices in mass. It, therefore, means that the interference does not target those that perpetrate cyber-attacks, it engages in the random scrutiny of every citizen's communication. Noticeably, extra-surveillance activities on online communication by the government are unlawful because such violates the principle of privacy of the users of these virtual platforms. Surprisingly, the same government is always at the forefront in claiming that it upholds the fundamental rights of its citizens. However, it should be understood that privacy rights of a person remain intact whether offline or online. What the authorities should know is that with the digital age, most communication takes a virtual form. Therefore, when they violate the privacy rights of the online community which is a majority, then the government should not classify itself as a defender of human rights.

Work Cited

Knappenberger, Brian, director. "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz". Participant Media, 2014.

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