The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)
Critic Consensus: Informative and enraging in equal measure, The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz uses its subject's tragic tale to deliver an impassioned call to action.
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Critic Reviews for The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
Talking (egg)heads reiterate outrage over the Obama Justice Department's witch hunt against him, but Swartz's ex-girlfriend adds heart when she tearfully recalls first seeing the ''end date'' on his Wikipedia page.
Fascinating, maddening, and ultimately very sad.
The film not only canonizes its hero - who committed suicide amid a nasty federal indictment against him - but also brushes aside any big-picture concerns about national security and Internet piracy.
Audience Reviews for The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
An inspiring, enraging and extremely sad documentary about this admirable young man whose only crime in this anti-democratic society was to seek knowledge and try to make it accessible to everyone - and his stupid death shows that a lot must be changed/fought for in this corrupted world.
Aaron Swartz stood for a free and democratic Internet. He was guilty of downloading 5 million scholarly texts from the JSTOR database. However since this material wasn't of a sensitive nature, nor did he plan to financially gain from the acquisition, the infraction seems negligible at best. Unfortunately none of the antagonists agreed to appear on camera. If there's a villain here it's the U.S. attorney's office and specially the chief prosecutor in the case, Stephen Heymann. He doesn't fare too well at all. His absence doesn't help him, but it's hard to say whether it would have served him if he had showed up to defend his questionable motives. Even hallowed university MIT comes under fire for its failure to speak up in Aaron's defense despite their supposed commitment to open access. The end result is a one-sided but emotionally compelling view. It will make you angry but it will also make you profoundly sad. You will mourn this young man who, in the aftermath of the events detailed here, ultimately took his own life. fastfilmreviews.com
"The Internet's Own Boy" is an insightful and informative documentary about Aaron Swartz who facing the possibility of 35 years in jail for downloading intellectual journals at MIT committed suicide at the age of 26. The documentary does a good job of filling in the blanks in Aaron's life, starting with being a computer prodigy in suburban Chicago before dropping out of Stanford University and co-founding Reddit. Along the way, he idolized Tim Berners-Lee who DID invent the internet.(And where is his documentary, by the way?) That led to Aaron not just creating personal wealth, but in taking an interest in the public sphere, especially as it relates to the freedom of information. What "The Internet's Own Boy" does not do especially well is with one exception give the prosecutor's side of events, with the defense presenting almost all of the evidence.(Admittedly, there were a few people who decided not to participate.) In any case, we get a very clear view of what it is like to be prosecuted by federal authorities and investigated by the FBI, for which many people who do not have Aaron's resources have to go through something similar on a daily basis, as is also pointed out here.
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