Aaron Swartz Day 2021 – Speaker Schedule and Hackathon Details

The video of the stream from November 13th is now available here in two parts (the stream crashed in the middle of the day).

Part One: https://youtu.be/LAL5js2vl0E

Part Two: https://youtu.be/RImDxvPtH3o

Date: November 13, 2021
Time: 10 am – 6pm PST

Stream Link will be posted HERE and on @AaronSwartzDay on Twitter

SPEAKER SCHEDULE & Talk Descriptions

10:00 AM Welcome to the hackathon – Lisa Rein, Co-founder Aaron Swartz Day

Link to Video

“The Swartz-Manning VR Museum, Art Gallery and Fun House” (Hackathon Project)

10:05-10:10 Conor Schaefer, CTO, Freedom of the Press Foundation 

Link to Video

“Hacking on SecureDrop” (Hackathon Project) 


10:10-10:25 Noah, Priveasy.org & Bad Apple

Link to Video

“Bad Apple and our new Bad Apple API” (Hackathon Project) (See bottom of this schedule for more info on our API)



10:25-10:30 Madison Vialpando, Bad Apple

Link to Video

Bad Apple’s Police Oversight Commission Project (Hackathon Project)


Help Bad Apple enter data from Internal Affairs reports into our Bad Apple Database (Hackathon Project) https://badapple.tools/BadAppleDatabase/

There are lots of other opportunities to help Bad Apple as well – EVEN IF YOU DON’T CODE, allowing you to contribute in a way that takes advantages of your talents.

For example you can:

– Help us translate our website into more languages

– Provide more abstract art for us to use in our backgrounds

– Make accessibility improvement suggestions

– Help us search for new Oversight Commissions and cases of police misconduct

10:30-10:45 Michael “Mek” Karpeles, Internet Archive

Link to Video

Mek’s quick Hackathon talk: APIs & Projects (from the Internet Archive)

  • Overview of Open Library APIs
  • Open Book Genome Project
  • A peek into TheBestBookOn.com (beta)

Mek’s talk: Learning Maps: Navigating Books Without Borders

When Aaron Swartz co-founded the Open Library, he imagined a public card catalog of every book ever published. Over the last decade, the Internet Archive has referenced this catalog to source a diverse library collection of 6M digital books. But this victory has brought new challenges & opportunities. Just as the world has more places than one can possibly visit in a lifetime, the Internet Archive now has more books than one can possibly read. And so, like cartographers, the Open Library community has begun to ask, “what knowledge maps may help patrons navigate the right reading decisions for them?”. In 2012, Danny Hillis presented his idea of the Learning Map, the idea that, “we ought to be able to learn anything we want and have something that helps guide us through that”. Today we’ll dream: what if we had a “Google Maps” for navigating from textbook to textbook on a learning journey? A public, collaborative, evolving curriculum; a textbook dependency graph to power a self-directed learning experience for all.
#opensyllabusproject #oceanofbooks #metacademy #recursiverecipies #bookgraphs

10:45 – 11:00 – Brewster Kahle, Co-founder, Internet Archive
Arkadiy Kukarkin, Decentralization Engineer, Internet Archive

“25 years of the Internet Archive:  Looking Towards the Future & the Decentralized Web”

11:00-11:15am – Tracey Jaquith, Founding Coder, Internet Archive
“How a Denosaur 🦕 is making it so Everyone Can Code” (JS + Deno & democratizing coding)

Aaron Swartz wanted to democratize everything – and put power in the hands of everyone instead of the hands of the few with the most power. Coding has become a critical skill these days. Traditionally, there’s a lot of setup to even create a basic “hello world” website, in any language.

With the advent of Static Site Generators, popular for blogs, and free hosting on github or gitlab pages, how can we leverage that pattern with modern JavaScript?

Tracey will show and live code a single JS file that does a fun graph visualization of archive.org live concerts, and how anyone can code like this with zero setup or requirements.

11:15 am – Kurt Opsahl, Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel, Electronic Frontier Foundation (Co-author of the “Van Buren is a Victory Against Overbroad Interpretations of the CFAA, and Protects Security Researchers”)
“The Van Buren Decision and How It Relates to Aaron’s Case”

12pm – 12:45pm – Cory Doctorow (Science Fiction Author, EFF Special Advisor)
“Move Fast and Fix Things: Aaron’s Legacy, Competitive Compatibility and the CFAA”

This year, the Supreme Court substantially narrowed the Reagan-era Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – the 1986 law that was used to threaten Aaron with more than 30 years in prison for a terms-of-service violation. With that ruling in the Van Buren case, the most expansive “anti-hacking” law on the books, a veritable legal bazooka, was diminished to little more than a pea-shooter.

That’s great news, obviously. And yet…This is the moment at which “move fast and break things,” and “beg forgiveness, don’t ask permission” have been transformed from hacker rallying cries into pathologies to which we can attribute so much of our current technological misery.

What is the role for unilateral technological action today? When is it okay to mod a product or service – not just without permission, but against the wishes of the company that supplied it? How can “Right to Repair” coexist with “Responsible Tech?” How can we insist that Facebook be hackable – while demanding a future free from Cambridge Analytica scandals?

What, in short, is the state of Aaron’s legacy in this moment of technological peril, control, manipulation and dominance?

12:45 1:15 pm Will Howes– Bad Apple, Aaron Swartz Day Team
General Guidelines for Effective High School Activism (Based on Aaron Swartz’ blog post: “How to Save the World, Part 1


1:15– 1:45 BREAK (Note: if the early talks go longer than 1:15 pm PST, the afternoon speakers will still start AT 1:45 pm PST)

1:45-2:15 pm Jonathan Borden, MD Jonathan Borden MD, neurosurgeon and occasional molecular biologist (& member of the W3C’s RDF Working Group with Aaron Swartz)
“Viruses and How mRNA Vaccines Work:  For Computer People”

2:15–2:45 pm Conor Schaefer, CTO, Freedom of the Press Foundation
“The State of the Drop” (A yearly update on SecureDrop.) 

2:45–3:15 pm Grant Ellis, Grassroots Cannabis Activist & Editor of GrantSmithEllis.com (NECANN 2021 Winner for Best News/Information Source)
            “Regulatory Trust Busting and Enabling Equity-owned Legal Cannabis Businesses” – or “Cannabis, Social Equity and warding off regulatory capture; how Massachusetts activists have shaped the national conversation surrounding cogent oversight of corporate cannabis corruption and government malfeasance”

Grant Smith Ellis is a grassroots cannabis activist from Massachusetts who enjoys exposing selfish corporate actors in their attempt to use public policy as a plaything in order to centralize market control at the expense of equity and a fair market structure. He has helped to shape cannabis policy in multiple states around the country, always with a focus on creating pathways into the market for companies owned by those people who were most directly harmed by a decades long racist drug-war.

At this year’s ASD, Grant will give a presentation about how Massachusetts has structured its two equity-license programs (the Economic Empowerment and Social Equity Programs) and how a special new class of delivery licenses were created in the summer of 2020 with a 3 year priority period during which those licenses will only be made available to SE and EE applicants.

That equity priority period, and that new class of delivery licenses, was not met with universal acclaim however; a small group of wealthy brick and mortar dispensary owners, who stood to lose hundreds of millions of dollars per year were that new license type to come into existence, attempted to file a lawsuit in January of 2021 to stop the new rules from becoming law.

Within 7 days, and through an intercommunity effort that spanned the nation, the grassroots community in Massachusetts forced that lawsuit to be dropped and the new equity delivery license became law.

Grant will talk about those victories, why they matter and more in his presentation and he looks forward to taking questions as well.

3:15 – 4pm Ryan Sternlicht – Aaron Swartz Day Team, Noisebridge, NeuroTechSF
“The Next Layer of Reality: Options For the Future Metaverse”

Over the past few weeks, Facebook’s change into Meta and their discussion of the metaverse has brought about a new wave of interest in Virtual Reality, immersive technology, digital privacy and data collection. This attention is both good and bad as it could really help with getting more people engaged in the development of the metaverse, and all the technologies related to it, some of which could be very beneficial to many people, but it also reinforces that big companies with lots of resources will try to consolidate a lot of that tech and control access to it.

I will outline a few possible ways different forms of the metaverse (those created by companies like facebook, and those created independently) could affect our future overall, especially with regard to creativity, empathy, freedom of expression, information access, data collection, personal privacy and personal health.

4-4:45 pm – Ryan Shapiro, Property of the People
“FOIA & Fascism: Information Activism in the Age of Trump and Beyond”

4:45-5:15 pm – K. Kollontai
Empathy Economies: PTSD and the Democratization of Healing


We will end between 5:30-6 pm PST – and then we will all go over to hang out on Chelsea Manning’s Twitch Stream:



About Bad Apple’s New API (and opportunities for hacking on it)

Announcing our Bad Apple API: https://badapple.tools/api

If you’re interested in supporting Bad Apple, the best way you can do that is by:

1. Posting about Bad Apple on social media https://badapple.tools

2. Reviewing our code on GitHub and making contributions to it: https://github.com/P5vc/BadAppleBackend#api-overview

3.Taking advantage of our API to build Bad Apple into your own projects

4. Volunteering some of your time to help us add to our databases

For those interested in trying out our API, but are unsure of what to build, here are some good suggestions to get you started:

– Take a look at existing scripts on our GitHub, and see how you can improve them

– Create a auto-updating heat map of Oversight Commissions as they get added to our database

– Create a Siri Shortcut allowing people to ask Siri for the contact information of the closest Oversight Commission to them, and then utilize our API to find and return the correct results

– Integrate a search functionality for our database using our API into existing human rights apps and websites

– Use our API to fetch and analyze large amounts of data to create useful statistics

– Create a web crawler to automatically search the web for the latest cases of police misconduct, then verify whether or not it already exists in our database using the API. If it doesn’t then feel free to file a PRA request and send us the results, or leave us a tip

– Create a bot to automatically tweet about new Oversight Commissions or reports as they get added to our database

November 11 2023 – 11 am -6:30 pm PST