THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY (Brian Knappenberger). 105 minutes. Opens Friday (June 27). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
The Internet's Own Boy is as engrossing as it is important.
The precocious Aaron Swartz created a public online encyclopedia years before Wikipedia, and helped develop Reddit, Creative Commons and RSS. But he ditched Silicon Valley millions to become an anti-censorship, freedom of information activist.
After the U.S. government arrested him on charges of computer fraud related to the systematic downloading of academic journal articles at MIT, the 26-year-old hanged himself.
Everyone from Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow to Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, weighs in on his importance and the danger and inaccuracy of the government's campaign to make him a hacker scapegoat.
Director Brian Knappenberger makes the tech info go down smoothly, and Swartz's family, friends and huge community of online followers bring the emotional loss to the fore.