A feature documentary that explores the rise of a new Internet; decentralized, encrypted, dangerous and beyond the law; with particular focus on the FBI capture of the Tor hidden service Silk Road, and the judicial aftermath.
Joshua L. Dratel
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The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron's story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.Written by
First Title Cards:
Unjust Laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we edeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have suceeded, or shall we transgress them at once?- Henry David Thoreau
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This is a very good documentary of a subject that EVERYONE should be interested in. If you're interested in the Internet, technology, open publishing (science or law), or freedom, you MUST watch this documentary. It's a moving and disturbing story of a very important young man, and how the government tried to make an example out of him.
Where it fails, is dealing with Aaron's mental health issues. His struggles with depression (which he documented in his blog) were glossed over, and even dismissed (such as when he brother said he didn't remember any mood swings as a child). I think this was purposefully done to fit the thesis of the documentary (that the prosecution backed him into a corner), and ignores a major part of Aaron's life. Just because he was "at-risk" due to mental illness, doesn't mean he wasn't targeted and persecuted. Instead, his depression was swept under the rug by the filmmaker, as it so often is in our society.
Overall, this is a very important film and I would highly recommend it. However, read Aaron's blogs and writings for supplemental info!
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