Let’s Recognize Aaron Swartz’s Martyrdom

Richard Evans — henrymakow.com Feb 24, 2014

“The world is divided into three kinds of people: A very small group that makes things happen; a somewhat larger group that watches things happen; and a great multitude that never knows what has happened.” — Nicholas Murray Butler
Aaron was among the first small group. The people who make things happen.
Aaron Swartz was one of the very few prime movers in the field of internet information.  He’d just started high school when he co-authored “RSS” (“really simple syndication”) feed format that everybody uses to be notified of information of interest to them.
When you see:
give a moment of silence for Aaron Swartz.
Born in 1986, he grew up on the internet. His dad, Robert was a MIT Internet guru. ” My main reaction was being excited about it.  Part of what made it magical was finding other people to connect with and the more people there were the more interesting pages there were to find. I mean, you would search for stuff and most of the time nothing would come back ’cause there were only a handful people writing stuff for the internet. I remember having to open the phone book and having to dial a place up and saying ‘how late are you open’?  Then suddenly you just type in their domain name and it tells you everything you need to know”.
Compare his way of thinking with the sleazy Mark Zuckerberg in 2010 when asked to explain why Facebook suddenly unlocked millions of members privacy settings without warning them.  “We decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.”
Facebook is largely a rip-off (or at least knockoff) of the good social networking features developed by Swartz for Reddit, such as the thumb’s up feature for ranking viewer response to open posts – except Reddit has a thumb’s down feature, not just an ‘unlike’.
More importantly, Reddit didn’t mine your data to make NSA profiles of you, your relatives and friends.
Aaron Swartz said, “Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to pay enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.”
What we really mean by Information Age is the recent period in history during which all the information accumulated on all previous media has suddenly become available to everyone.  Aaron recognized the fact that instant communication with unlimited numbers of people over infinite distance has an exponential effect on human creativity.  He also knew it only works if it’s free.   Richard Stallman said it best, “think of free speech, not free beer”.
Aaron’s argument was that you can’t apply intellectual property rights to digital information, because it flows like speech. If we have a conversation and we can’t repeat something we read or heard on television without being arrested, then conversation itself would be impossible.   It’s not the same thing as printing pirated copies of a book that’s under copyright and for sale. He wasn’t defending privacy.  SOPA used ‘piracy’ as an excuse to hold bloggers liable for things like quoting the New York Times, etc.
In an industry where real activism has been considered dead since 2008, Aaron was just getting started.

F**K THE GUARDIAN CLASS

Continues …

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