[Update on 18 January: A memorial service will be held tomorrow in the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York. Many will speak, me included. Register at the first link. I’ve also added many more links to the stack below. I’ve also put together a too-short collection of photos I’ve taken of Aaron over the years. They are all Creative Commons licensed to encourage re-use. So take ’em away. I’ll add more as I find them.]
Aaron Swartz’ funeral is today, and I can’t get him out of my mind. None of us who knew him ever will.
That’s not just because he was a great guy, which he was. It’s because Aaron stood for something.
That thing is freedom. It won’t die, and never will.
Look up “Aaron Swartz” +freedom. Bookmark it. Go back often. Watch what happens.
Nobody was more native to the Net than Aaron, or more determined to save it from those who would limit the freedom it embodies and supports.
The Net is free because it embodies virtues we call NEA:
- Nobody owns it
- Everybody can use it
- Anybody can improve it
Like air, oceans, sunlight, gravity and the periodic table, the Net is free for us all. Both socially and economically, it has positive externalities beyond calculation.
Yet pieces of the Net’s physical infrastructure, and much of what flows over it, are either property outright, or subject to property claims. Aaron was good at drawing distinctions between the two, and — far more importantly — building tools and services that made it easier to understand those distinctions and do more within the boundaries they provide. Creative Commons, for example. Aaron’s fingerprints on that one were applied when he was just fourteen years old.
Aaron is gone, and that won’t change. But his influence, like the freedom he loved, will only grow, thanks to the good work he did when he was here.
As I did in my last post, I’m going to add recollections of Aaron here. Unlike that other list, all these will deal with Aaron’s life, rather than just his death:
- Aaron Swartz was curious (Dave Winer)
- Why the Net grieves Aaron Swartz (David Weinberger on CNN)
- How Aaron Swartz helped build the Internet (CNN)
- Exclusive: Aaron Swartz’s Partner, Expert Witness Say Prosecutors Unfairly Targeted Dead Activist (video interview with Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman and Alex Stamos, on Democracy Now)
- Aaron Swartz’s FOIA Requests Shed Light on His Struggle (Jason Leopold, Truthout)
- Aaron Swartz: What we can do to remember him (Khanh Ho in Huffpo)
- In the Wake of Aaron Swartz’s Death, Let’s fix Draconian Computer Crime Law (Marcia Hoffman in EFF)
- In the Wake of Aaron Swartz’s Death, Let’s Fix Draconian Computer Crime Law
(Marcia Hofmann – EFF)
- Aaron Swartz’s Lawyer: Prosecutor Stephen Heymann Wanted ‘Juicy’ Case For Publicity (HuffPo)
- Remembering Aaron Swartz’s Ethically Engaged Internet Art Collaboration (Ben Davis, Blouin ArtInfo)
- Aaron Swartz the activist (Lauren Feeney, Bill Moyers)
- How To Honor Aaron Swartz: In the wake of the brilliant technology activist’s death, let’s fix the draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (Marcia Hofmann, Slate)
- Remembering digital innovator Aaron Swartz (Radio Boston, WBUR)
- Aaron Swartz, Late Activist For Online Freedom, Is Remembered By Some As The Internet’s MLK
(Denise Lavoie and Allen G. Breed)
- Aaron’s Law (proposed by Zoe Lofgren, in Congress)
- I’m Zoe Lofgren & I’m introducing “Aaron’s Law” to change the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) — on Reddit
- Lofren floats ‘Aaron’s Law’ on Reddit after Aaron Swartz’ death (LA Times)
- The limits of Aaron’s Law (Catherine Bracy)
- Congresswoman Names Law After Dead Guy, But Wait! This One Might Be Good!
(Scott Shackford in Reason)
- Google search for “Aaron’s Law”
- Aaron Swartz and prosecutorial discretion (NY Times)
- Aaron Swartz and the rise of the hacktivist hero (Dominic Basulto)
- Tech innovator unfairly prosecuted (Max Stolarczyk, Daily Gamecock)
- Listen To A 14-Year-Old Aaron Swartz Predict The Future Of The Internet
Stunning, from 2001. Social media, the semantic web, and pragmatism about artificial intelligence. (John Herman, BuzzFeed)
- Sad farewell to Aaron Swartz, Internet freedom Fighter (Clarence Page, Newsday)
- Funeral services held for Internet prodigy Aaron Swartz (WGN-TV)
- Aaron Swartz and the Freedom to Connect (Amy Goodman in Truthdig)
- Aaron Swartz Case ‘Snowballed Out Of MIT’s Hands,’ Source Says (Gerry Smith, HuffPo)
- Bullying Aaron Swartz (Dale Cooper, HuffPo)
- “An Incredible Soul”: Larry Lessig Remembers Aaron Swartz After Cyberactivist’s Suicide Before Trial; Parents Blame Prosecutor (Democracy Now)
- MIT refused to support push to keep Aaron Swartz out of prison, lawyer says (Gerry Smith, HuffPo)
- U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz Issues Statement About Her Office’s Handling Of Case Against Aaron Swartz (Catherine Shu, TechCrunch)
- Aaron Swartz Death Sparks Discussion: Should Academic Publishing Be Accessible To All? (VIDEO) (HuffPo)
- Aaron Swartz’s girlfriend blames his suicide on ‘punitiveness and vindictiveness’ of US legal system (guardian.co.uk)
- Elect A New Congress Announces “Profiles in Liberty” Library Series, Including Aaron Swartz: America’s 1st Marty SOPA Video prweb.com)
- LIVE ONLINE: Aaron Swartz and the battle for Open Access (cbc.ca)
- Aaron Swartz In His Own Words dave-lucas.blogspot.com)
- Aaron Swartz: The world was a better place with him in it newsgrist.typepad.com)
- Aaron Swartz’s Prosecutor: I Wasn’t Seeking Maximum Sentence mashable.com)
- Republican Senator Hits Holder Over Swartz’s Death huffingtonpost.com)
- Aaron Swartz memorial law proposed by Silicon Valley congresswoman (guardian.co.uk)
- The Congressional Backlash Over Aaron Swartz’s Suicide Has Begun theatlanticwire.com)
- Carmen Ortiz strikes out (Scott Horton in Harpers)
- The political consequences of academic paywalls (Sarah Kendzior in Aljazeera)
- A time for silence (Larry Lessig)