In Memory Of Aaron Swartz, A Day Of Action Against The NSA

from the speak-up,-speak-out dept

A bunch of websites and organizations are teaming up today to announce a day of action against mass surveillance in honor of the passing of Aaron Swartz. It calls out to those who fought back against SOPA to now join in this effort as well — as Aaron was deeply involved in both issues.


In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. A year ago this month one of that movement’s leaders, Aaron Swartz, tragically passed away.

Today we face a different threat, one that undermines the Internet, and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.

If Aaron were alive, he’d be on the front lines, fighting against a world in which governments observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action.

Now, on the eve of the anniversary of Aaron’s passing, and in celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA that he helped make possible, we are announcing a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.

The idea is to use the 11th of February as a day similar to the big SOPA blackout day from two years ago. Except, rather than fighting to stop just a specific bill, this is designed to be a day to get the internet to speak out against mass surveillance. Check out the website at, and please consider supporting this and taking part.

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Comments on “In Memory Of Aaron Swartz, A Day Of Action Against The NSA”

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Another blackout?

Not a fan, personally. The effectiveness of the first one was, in part, because it was so surprising. If we just do a blackout, eventually everyone will become numb to it.

No one said it’s a blackout. Just a day of action… stay tuned… Separately, even if it was a blackout, there’s only been one in the past and it was two years ago. To suggest that everyone will become numb to something so rare seems… unlikely.

St. Pat says:

Re: Re: Another blackout?

No one said it’s a blackout. Just a day of action… stay tuned…

You’re right, my bad. The article just mentioned the SOPA blackout, so I guess that’s what I latched on to. I’m actually kind of eager to see what they come up with now.

Separately, even if it was a blackout, there’s only been one in the past and it was two years ago. To suggest that everyone will become numb to something so rare seems… unlikely.

Again, you’re right. My point was just that the blackout is a powerful tool and should be used very, very sparingly. Otherwise, the public’s reaction goes from “Holy f—balls, the internet is down!” to “Oh, this again.”

Trevor (profile) says:


A scary though, which I felt is relevant:

The NSA constantly indicates that it does not abuse the systems it has in place to monitor everyone.

What happens if a President like, say, Chris Christie, with a staff like, say, Chris Christie’s staff, is in charge of an agency, like, say, the NSA?

I see no way how this could possibly go wrong.

Just thought it was relevant; don’t want to take away from Aaron Swartz.

Anonymous Coward says:

a good action to remember a good man. i hope it is successful as it deserves
i also hope that there is a day of action against the even worse than ACTA/SOPA/PIPA bills, against TPP and that it is extremely soon, given how those supporting it (and remember, it is more for the entertainment industries so they can stay out of the digital age and screw people even harder, whilst enabling even worse punishments than are in force at the moment!) are trying to get it signed and sealed in the next few days!!

out_of_the_blue says:

Google says 14,000 hits for: nsa surveillance "Aaron Swartz"

So, I conclude that his name and memory is simply being appropriated for what he was NOT visibly concerned with. Frankly, I don’t see what sneaking into a closet and tapping into network to “liberate” data that were libraried and available for small fee to those who needed it has to do with the NSA monster.

This is actually the worst of the internet, ginning up useless ranting by mis-claiming a useless tragedy.

At best, you “hacktivists” or whatever you call yourselves should stop and consider tactics. I don’t think you’ve any actual or consistent views, just run from rant to rant.

Meanwhile, the surveillance system keeps expanding on its commercial front. For example, the Google monster yet again this week has gobbled your privacy, and there’s zero to no alarm from Mike over that. But here’s a site having different view; just read the comments on this article :

Now ANYONE on Google+ can email you, with or without your Gmail addy

Mike often tells us that he knows how teh internets work, but never really shows a grasp of human nature in practice, the fraud and control to gain money any way can.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Google says 14,000 hits for: nsa surveillance "Aaron Swartz"

Do you have some weird learning disability?

In the same post you have both criticised and used Googles services to make a point.

You can’t have it both ways, you either accept their policies and use their services or you don’t. (I know, I know, you are paid to hate on Google when you really love them)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Google says 14,000 hits for: nsa surveillance "Aaron Swartz"

I truly think that OOTB is mentally unbalanced.

His freakout over the G+ email thing is case in point. The El Reg article he links to points out that this is a new feature that lets you email other G+ members even if you don’t know their email address. It’s hard to see how this deserves outrage: anyone on G+ isn’t terribly concerned about the Google Monster, by definition.

Brazenly Anonymous says:

Fix your quote

Benjamin Franklin’s quote is garbled, it should read:

“They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”


“Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.”

Providing an inaccurate quote will be used to encourage people to ignore the quote in its entirety.

out_of_the_blue says:

Worse than expected: "Click to share one of these photos on Facebook:"!

Oh, yeah, using Facebook is best way to keep your privacy. Sheesh. Anyone who isn’t concerned with commercial surveillance has ZERO credibility for opposing gov’t surveillance. All spying is bad, all leads to same place. — Using Facebook you are not only cozying up to the beast, but applying barbecue sauce to yourself. You are its meat, kids. Stop helping the spies.

This emotional appeal is just cynical grab for your email address and whatever else of your privacy to monetize.

Anyhoo, actually I’m back to explain further, a decent respect for the opinion of mankind and all.

I’m sympathetic to the stated appeal, but after looking at the link, it truly is worst axpects of the net.

As to Aaron Swartz: the Google search tends to show little for him about NSA, and I admit to confirmation bias when this ginned-up email grab was all over first page, but if you can find Swartz worrying about NSA and put a link here to rebut, that’d be great with me.

Alex Jones of Infowars believes Swartz was murdered, and I wouldn’t be surprised. But as a “hacker” (and high placed at “Reddit” which definitely looks like a dis-info site now that they forbid questioning climate change) it’s about 1 in 4 chance that he was an FBI informant, perhaps coaxed into the stupid “data liberation”, and then burned. They do that frequently. He may have intended to present that at trial, and then the system REALLY burned him by “suiciding”. We don’t know: I find it plausible to likely; it’s impossible to be too cynical or paranoid now.

But in any case, “liberating data” was and is a stupid idea, and Swartz took definite steps to do it. I just can’t cheer stupid acts.

In sum, the emotional appeal, the email-mining, the actual promotion of commercial spying by Facebook, and a severely flawed from known facts “hero”, this is just — well, can only repeat: WORST ASPECTS OF THE INTERNET.

Brazenly Anonymous says:

Re: Worse than expected: "Click to share one of these photos on Facebook:"!

Oppressive surveillance tactics were a big part of the controversy surrounding Swartz’ trial. He coded up a dropbox to replace the one that had been used by Wikileaks and was generally a supporter of leaks.

These facts are exhaustively covered in the news stories about Swartz. So while you won’t find Swartz concerned over an issue that had yet to be leaked when he passed away, we can confidently say that he would have been concerned over something that had a massive impact on his own life being applied en masse and supportive of those who leaked the information.

Had Swartz survived his trial, he could potentially have been one of the recipients of documents from Snowden. That would be the kind of speculation that you seem to be treating this suggestion as.

However, which side of this issue Swartz would have fallen on is easy to establish from the ideals he died rather than give up (or was killed for defending, same thing really).

Anonymous Coward says:

Oh, the irony

The press release at that web site reads (near the bottom):

“Use the social media tools on the site to announce your participation.”

Apparently they haven’t realized yet that “social media” is the NSA’s wet dream: it’s a self-perpetuating surveillance mechanism that they don’t even have to pay for. I’m sure they LOVE spammer Mark Zuckerberg — heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if they helped fund Facebook via enough intermediaries to obfuscate the money trail.

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