THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz.
As a teenager, Aaron Swartz was a computer-programming prodigy with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. After emerging as a pioneer of Internet activism, education, and politics, he was indicted on multiple federal charges in 2011 and 2012, setting off a complex chain of events that left the Internet community reeling. Shortly thereafter, at the age of 26, Swartz was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Brooklyn apartment. His family, friends, and supporters immediately blamed the prosecutors of the case, who aimed to put him in jail for 35 years and brand him a convicted felon for life. Swartz was persecuted for the very rights and freedoms for which he stood, and that ultimately broke him.
Weaving together home video footage and anecdotal interviews from his closest confidants, Director Brian Knappenberger creates a dynamic portrait of a precocious boy who grew up to lead the Internet community into a new age of data sharing and free speech.