Activists to hold a ‘hackathon’ to remember Aaron Swartz

The two-day event will be held in honor of Swartz and his activism, who took his own life at 26 in 2013

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Programmers, developers, and other members of the internet community will hold a “hackathon” across 11 cities around the world commemorating what would have been Aaron Swartz’ 28th birthday.

According to the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the two-day event will be held in honor of Swartz and his activism, who took his own life at 26 in 2013 after a court found him guilty of computer and wire fraud.

“A ‘hackathon’ is when programmers, developers, artists, researchers, and activists gather together to work intensively on a project,” a statement on the organization’s website explained.

“But one thing that sets the Aaron Swartz Day hackathons off from the rest is that all of the projects being hacked on further Aaron’s dream of a free and open Internet and a more just world.”

Swartz's efforts to bring what he felt were public access documents to the mass public for free, including approximately 19 million court documents from the PACER case-law website, made him an online icon.

The federal indictment said Swartz, then a fellow at Harvard University, had downloaded millions of articles and journals from digital archive JSTOR through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology servers.

Swartz, who pleaded not guilty to all counts, faced 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

Buenos Aires, Kathmandu, Austin and Los Angeles are some of the cities where the event will be held by internet activists in Swartz’s honor.

In San Francisco, the event will host seven speakers who will discuss the latest developments in areas and issues Swartz was interested in.

Lawyers, programmers, activists and journalists will discuss Swartz’s activism and the developments in the causes he gave his time and activism to.

A documentary about Swartz will be screened during the event after which the filmmaker Brian Knappenberger will take questions from the audience along with Trevor Timm, Freedom of the Press Foundation executive director.

[With Reuters]