The Internet and Free Speech: A Preview of The Internet’s Own Boy

Jun 17, 2014
6:30 PM
New York

Aaron Swartz was one of the Internet’s true visionaries and his unexpected suicide in 2013 shocked the digital community. This compelling new documentary by Brian Knappenberger (watch the trailer below) explores the complicated world of the computer prodigy Swartz and how he became an icon for Internet activism. We see how Swartz evolved from a computer wunderkind—who as a teenager helped create the web format RSS and helped build the social site Reddit—to a crusader for open access for information on the Internet. The film traces Swartz’s motives in illegally making available academic articles from a MIT database. Variety has stated that the film “may be the most emotionally devastating movie ever made about hacking and the freedom of information.” After the screening, experts and scholars of Internet history will examine the legacy of Aaron Swartz, discussing the meaning of free speech in the digital age.

Funding for this event has been provided by



This program is made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Brian Knappenberger, Director
Christopher Soghoian, Principal Technologist, Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, ACLU
Jane Hamsher, Publisher,
Moderator: Tim Wu, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Director, Program on Law & Technology, Columbia Law School

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