Join EFF and others on November 9 at the Internet Archive for Aaron Swartz Day—an annual event to celebrate Aaron Swartz’s legacy as an activist, programmer, entrepreneur, and political organizer. 

Aaron’s life was cut short in 2013, after he was charged under the notoriously draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for systematically downloading academic journal articles from the online database JSTOR. Federal prosecutors have for years stretched the law beyond its original purpose of stopping malicious computer break-ins, instead pushing for heavy penalties for any behavior they don't like that involves a computer.

This was the case for Aaron, who was charged with eleven counts under the CFAA. Facing decades in prison, Aaron died by suicide at the age of 26. He would have turned 33 this week, on November 8.

This weekend, you can help carry on the work that Aaron started.

Aaron Swartz Day’s San Francisco event, held at the Internet Archive, will feature a one-day FOIAPALOOZA—focused on teaching people how to file their own Freedom of Information Act requests. Participants will also have the opportunity to dig in to information received in response to over 200 requests filed this past year with the Police Surveillance Project.

There will also be plenty of projects for programmers to hack on—including work on projects Aaron was involved in, such as SecureDrop, OpenLibrary—as well as anti-surveillance projects for journalists, researchers, writers, and activists.

Attendees will hear from a full line-up of speakers. Oakland Privacy’s Tracey Rosenberg and Mike Katz-McCabe will talk about their work using public records for their groundbreaking advocacy work. Speakers also include EFF’s Executive Director Cindy Cohn, Director of Strategy Danny O’Brien, and Activism Director Elliot Harmon. Tickets to the event are $25 for those who want to donate to the event costs; RSVPs are appreciated.

If you’re not in San Francisco, you can also participate in hackathons in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Burnsville, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; and Orlando, Florida. Internationally, hackathons are also planned in Brisbane, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Shenzhen, Sydney, Stockholm, and Vancouver.

We hope to see some of you Saturday at this year's celebration. For more information, please visit the event page. Those with questions or would like help organizing their own events are welcome to email

EFF is proud to continue the fight for open access to academic publications, and to stand up for coders’ rights. Please consider supporting EFF’s efforts on open access and CFAA reform. 

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