Newsweek’s Seung Lee came by the hackathon on Saturday. He’s written a nice piece that I’d missed last week :-)
Inside the Aaron Swartz Day Hackathon
By Seung Lee for Newsweek
From the article:
Programmers, journalists and whistleblowers flocked to San Francisco to speak during the conference. Representatives from the Tor Project, which advocates for online anonymity, and Glenn Greenwald’s project The Intercept were in attendance. In addition, Chelsea Manning, the Army lieutenant who leaked sensitive documents to Wikileaks in 2010, wrote a letter of support to the conference from her prison cell in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The day was more than just a parade of experts talking and guests listening. “Aaron would not have wanted people to mope around about him,” says Rein. “He would have wanted us to build new things.”
More than 30 computer programmers huddled together around foldable tables in the foyer and typed away at assigned projects. One of these projects was Privacy Badger, a third-party tracker-blocking application built by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights advocacy group. While Privacy Badger helped stop hidden trackers from following one’s digital footrpints, the application sometimes disabled images and videos from being displayed, and thus needed some outside help…
“Aaron led an open source life and took the open source movement to another level,” says Kahle. “Programming for the social good is still very much alive. But we, the general public, all screwed up by taking the life of a promising young man.”
In the evening, the Internet Archives hosted a dinner banquet during which several speakers, including Kahle and those from the afternoon conference, took turns saying a few words about Swartz. At the close, Manning’s letter was read aloud by Rein.
Manning spoke about the “paradox” of technology leaving society more connected and open and yet more paranoid and insecure. She asked the guests to use their technologies for a better, freer and more private Internet, as Swartz would have wanted.
“I now believe that today’s coders and engineers have an extra ‘hat’ that we have to wear on top of the colorful spectrum of hats we already have—namely, the technology ethicist and moralist hat,” reads Manning’s letter. “Technology is only a toolbox. It’s what we create our software for, what we intend to use it for, and who we allow to use it, and how much, that really count.”