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DEEPLINKS BLOG

Support Whistleblowers at the Aaron Swartz Hackathon This Weekend

November 3, 2016

This weekend you have the chance to add to Aaron Swartz’s legacy by boosting tools for whistleblowers.

The 2016 Aaron Swartz International Hackathon—held in honor of the late Internet and political activist—will take place during the day Saturday and Sunday at the Internet Archive in San Francisco. The hackathon will focus on whistleblower submission system SecureDrop, which was created by Swartz and Kevin Poulsen to connect media organizations and anonymous sources and is managed by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

This weekend’s events—timed to what would have been his 30th birthday on Nov. 8—will also feature a series of speakers on Saturday night, including SecureDrop’s Conor Schaefer, Fight for the Future Co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng, and EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn, as well as a special statement from Chelsea Manning.

After battling needlessly aggressive federal computer fraud charges, Swartz tragically took his own life in 2013. Under the often-abused Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, he faced many months of jail time—and could have faced up to 35 years in jail and a $1 million fine—stemming from his 2011 use of original software to automatically download millions of academic articles from JSTOR from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s network.

Swartz had a hand in many major efforts to improve and protect the Internet. By the time he was 14, he was working on RSS standards. He went on to help launch Creative Commons in an effort to make copyright licensing more accessible, contribute to Reddit at the company’s early stages, and work to open up government documents stored on PACER. In 2010 he founded Demand Progress, which was instrumental in massive online protests that derailed the Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012.

The hackathon provides the opportunity to help whistleblowers supply information to SecureDrop users like The Guardian and The Intercept while remembering Swartz and his contributions to the Internet activism community.

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