If you are aware of the slow erosion of person privacy on the Internet you likely know of Aaron Swartz. If you’ve watched the massive privatization of the Internet from mid 1990s through today, you probably wonder which young person is taking on the role of leader of Internet communications and services. Facebook and Google are massive businesses that attract billions from corporate interests that drive their agendas. Facebook as successfully privatized and ad-spattered Instant Messaging, Web blogging, News Feeds in an entirely closed, Facebook walled prison. Even software developers shun facebook’s draconian me-me-me world.
What an incredible difference between a young man like Aaron Swartz and Mark Zuckerberg. Aaron *studies* Ethics, Mark’s world works hard to find its *limits* of ethics. We need to work on how ethical behavior in the digital domain can be assured. Aaron’s News – RSS is the opposite of the Facebook digital prison of information. RSS News delivers content from web sites and other sources in a standard way so new businesses and new ways of presenting and co-relating information can be developed – in an open way. Aaron added his energies to help define Creative Commons – a Copyright system which offers a revolution in choices for content creators, fueling open communications and sharing among *all* businesses, not just within Google’s world, or Facebook’s world.
Aaron, arguably, had his finances included 10 billion dollars, would have simply paid his fines, threatened the US Court with a 100 year set of appeals and been done with it. Instead, the Court bled him. Why? Could it be that Aaron’s skills and youth were precisely what they needed to ‘crackdown’ on the anti-SOPA/PIPA movement? Did they need him to rat out other information freedom fighters? Many questions remain unanswered about the motivations around this case.
Had the rest of us known Aaron was in this headspace, there would have been a rally, a massive outpouring of support that would have ended the overblown charges, threats and pressure. Its an incredibly sad day for our industry. My only hope is that there are 1,000s of other self-less geniuses that will continue to work within the bounds of Ethics and reason to shape our digital future, and that *money* does not, rather humanity does.