‘Friends and family recall an idealist’: Aaron Swartz, the subject of The Internet’s Own Boy. Photograph: Noah Berger Noah Berger/PR
by Mark Kermode
This engagingly constructed (if somewhat hagiographic) documentary offers a very moving account of the life and death of “hacktivist” Aaron Swartz, who killed himself in January 2013 while facing jail time for downloading academic journals. Director Brian Knappenberger argues that the case against Swartz was overzealously pursued in order to make an example of him and on the evidence presented here it’s hard to disagree. High-profile advocates such as Tim Berners-Lee talk passionately about Swartz’s extraordinary abilities (as a sparky teenager, he helped develop RSS), while news footage documents his key role in derailing congressional support for the notorious Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa). Meanwhile, friends and family recall an idealist with little interest in money who saw open access to information as a human right.
[H/T The Guardian]