WEIRDLAND: Aaron Swartz (The Idealist), Mr. Robot (Season 2 Trailer): Hacker Connection Changing the World

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Aaron Swartz (The Idealist), Mr. Robot (Season 2 Trailer): Hacker Connection Changing the World

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) was the law that prosecutors deployed against Aaron Swartz, an internet activist who killed himself after a years-long legal battle centered around his decision to mass download academic journals. Swartz was hit with the law after he entered a network closet at MIT and mass downloaded millions of academic journals from JSTOR, a company that generally charges for access. Swartz was charged with essentially violating the terms of service of JSTOR; because the CFAA was applied, he faced years in prison. Swartz ultimately killed himself after a plea deal was rejected by prosecutors. Source:

Aaron Swartz wanted to make the world a better place. Growing up in a computer-friendly home at the dawn of the internet era, he quickly became proficient in programming and coding and began to see all the possibilities that the online world could offer. The computer prodigy dropped out of North Shore Country Day after 9th grade. Why waste time in organized schooling when there was so much else that could be accomplished online? It became a pattern: Swartz later dropped out of Stanford after feeling discontent with the level of academic rigor. Eventually, he also left a lucrative job in Silicon Valley to pursue a career in activism. Source:

David Foster Wallace was Swartz’s favorite fiction writer. He had started unraveling David Foster Wallace’s notoriously dense novel Infinite Jest. “He spent, like, entire weekends where he was mostly working on this plot summary of Infinite Jest,” Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman recalled. “He loved taking complex narratives and distilling their essences.” At the beginning of 2011, in a capsule review of a book about the Toyota Motor Corporation, Swartz wrote that “lean production” was “undoubtedly the greatest human art form,” “with sex running a close second,” he clarified. -"The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet" (2016) by Justin Peters

Justin Peters: -It would be very hard to argue that the internet is more free right now than it was in 2003 in America. The thing that separated Aaron and how he chose to live his life from the rest of us was more sort of a lifelong conscious choice to work against his own best interests. That’s something we could all chose to do. By working against his own best interests, I mean that he was in Silicon Valley at the birth of social web. He was one of the first startups. Before he died, Aaron was working on this project called Secure Drop, which was a tool for leakers or whistleblowers to be able to securely and anonymously leak information. I think he would have been inspired by Snowden and probably would have tried to help empower other potential Snowdens out there. I think Snowden certainly falls in the same line of Swartz and the other data idealists. Source:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley play Edward Snowden and Lindsay Mills in "Snowden" (2016) directed by Oliver Stone

'Mr. Robot' Season 2 Trailer Promises to Change the World. "The truth is, we have more power than they think. The power to take action, to choose to do something," his character says. "Together, we change the world, change our future, and there's nothing they can do to stop us."

Rami Malek photographed by Eric Ray Davidson for The Hollywood Reporter (April 2016).

It sounds as if Elliott (Rami Malek) will be trying to galvanize potential followers into further action. "Elliott committed a crime in the first season, and we're gonna see the ramifications of that in the second season, I think that drives a lot about what the second season's all about," creator and showrunner Sam Esmail said. "And that's why there's the introduction of law enforcement that was kind of intentionally not shown in the first season, so that opens a whole new dimension there. And really I think the second season is about [Elliott and Mr. Robot] - that internal struggle, what does that look like, and how are they going to reconcile it?" "Mr. Robot" will return to USA Network for a second season this summer. Source:

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