Aaron Swartz passed away a year ago tomorrow. We are Cory Doctorow, Brian Knappenberger, Peter Eckersley (EFF), and David Segal (Demand Progress) here to talk about Aaron and a protest we're organizing on 02/11 in his honor. Ask us anything.
- Cory Doctorow, writer, activist, editor of BoingBoing and close friend of Aaron Swartz = doctorow
- Brian Knappenberger, filmmaker of The Internet's Own Boy about Aaron, and We Are Legion = knappb
- David Segal, co-founder of Demand Progress with Aaron = davidadamsegal
- Peter Eckersley of EFF, and close friend of Aaron = pdeEFF
- Sina Khanifar is a developer who's been behind many of the great activism sites of the last year or so, including https://TheDayWeFightBack.org/ = Sinakh
(We'll be in an out over the next few hours. Cory and Peter are here now as of 11AM eastern. Brian's now here, as of 12:30. David's in-and-out. Sina's here as of 1:15.)
1pm edit, for context: Brian has, in some senses, spent as much time with Aaron as anybody -- his film about Aaron will premiere at Sundance in a week or so, and he's spent the last year combing through footage and talking to Aaron's friend and family and colleagues. He's an extraordinary filmmaker, and Aaron's legacy is in safe hands with him.
For more on the February 11th day of action visit: https://TheDayWeFightBack.org/
Dedicated subreddit here: http://www.reddit.com/r/thedaywefightback/ -- let's start churning out tools and memes.
Press release here: https://thedaywefightback.org/press/
Two years ago, reddit and its users joined in fighting back against dangerous Internet censorship legislation during the SOPA protests. You blacked out your websites and started hundreds of creative campaigns to defeat a piece of legislation that threatened freedom on the Internet.
As was often the case, Aaron Swartz said it best: “[We defeated SOPA] because everyone made themselves the hero of their own story. Everyone took it as their job to save this crucial freedom. They threw themselves into it. They did whatever they could think of to do.”
In the last 6 months we’ve seen that government agencies, namely the NSA and GCHQ and others, have broken laws and twisted legal interpretations to create an infrastructure of mass surveillance of all of us online. This creates a dark form of censorship, of course, as people become afraid to speak freely -- and it’s one that undermines our security and our right to privacy as well. As users of the Internet, we have a responsibility to defend its freedom.
With SOPA, we had a clear goal: defeat a specific bill. In this case, we have to take a first step. We have some promising bills (like the USA Freedom Act) and terrible ones (the FISA Improvements Act). But we need our legislators to hear from people who love the Internet that we won’t stand by and let it be turned into a giant tool for mass surveillance. We need to push them to have the courage to support comprehensive reform. The kind of courage Aaron showed us all.
So today, on the eve of the anniversary of Aaron’s death, we’d like to ask you to join us in stepping up to the plate once again in defense of a free, open and secure internet, where no one has to watch over their shoulder for big brother.
In memory of Aaron, and looking back to the successes of the SOPA campaign, we’d like to ask you to join us in a month of action, culminating in a day of action on February 11th.
Our organizations - Demand Progress, EFF, and BoingBoing, along with countless others - will be doing everything we can to make that day as impactful as possible, and demonstrate to political and corporate leaders the world over that we will not stand for the harms they are perpetrating against us.
Will you join us?
Tweeting here for verification: https://twitter.com/demandprogress
A late update (Sunday) for those still finding this thread:
This new trailer for Brian's movie about Aaron entails a prescient, poignant, inspirational, and tragic call to action in opposition to the abuses by the surveillance state:
It's something Aaron and I were talking about a lot in the final months of his life, and such a shame that he's not with us for this fight.