Aaron Swartz was 26 when he took his own life, fighting a two-year legal battle over his alleged attempt to liberate academic journals from an online library. He was a programming prodigy who helped build some of the most fundamental components of the internet, and was a prominent online activist.
The story of his life and death is explored in the documentary “The Internet’s Own Boy,” which will be screened at Kakaako Agora on Friday, Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. A panel discussion will follow, built around essays contributed for the event. Finally, on Saturday, Sept. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a workshop aimed at building a community action plan to advance “open knowledge” in Hawaii.
Open knowledge is “knowledge that one is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it without legal, social or technological restriction.”
The two-day free event is titled “Extraordinary Machine: Restoring Public Access to the Public Domain,” and is organized by Interisland Terminal, Hawaii Open Data, Startup Weekend Honolulu, and Common Cause Hawaii.
“Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity,” writes the film’s producers. “This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.”
The panelists and essayists for the Friday screening include Burt Lum (Hawaii Open Data), Forest Frizzell (Hawaii State Office of Information Management & Technology), Nicholas Griffith (Bishop Museum) and Spencer Toyama (Sudokrew).
The Saturday workshop, meanwhile, “will present two Honolulu-based open knowledge case studies and an opportunity to develop an action plan for addressing them as a community,” according to the event organizers.
Lunch will be provided on Saturday to those who register online.