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Democratic Promise: Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

BY Micah L. Sifry | Saturday, January 12 2013

Aaron Swartz at a Boston Wikipedia Meetup, August 2009, By Sage Ross.

Aaron Swartz, a leading activist for open information, internet freedom, and democracy, died at his own hand Friday January 11. He was 26 years old. There is no single comprehensive list of his good works, but here are some of them: At the age of 14 he co-authored the RSS 1.0 spec--taking brilliant advantage of the fact that internet working groups didn't care if someone was 14, they only cared if their code worked. Then he met Larry Lessig and worked closely with him on the early architecting of Creative Commons, an immense gift to all kinds of sharing of culture. He also was the architect and first coder of the Internet Archive's, which now has made more than one million books freely available to anyone with an internet connection. "We couldn't have come this far without his crucial expertise," Open Library says on its about page. He also co-founded, the social news site, and Demand Progress, an online progressive action group that played a vital role in the anti-SOPA/PIPA fight. He also contributed occasionally to Personal Democracy Forum, writing this article on why wikis work and this essay on "parpolity" or the idea that nested councils of elected representatives could be used to represent a whole country, for our 2008 book, Rebooting America. He was a fellow traveler. Read More

After SOPA/PIPA Victory, Tech is Thinking About Tackling Political Reform

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 24 2012

Illustration: Shutterstock

In the wake of last week's online uprising against the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, there's a fascinating dynamic starting to unfold as technology leaders and grassroots activists wrestle with the question: now what? Read More

PdF2008: Edwards, Lessig, Zittrain, Pesce Keynotes Are Up on

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, July 2 2008

The first videos of plenary sessions from "Personal Democracy Forum 2008: Rebooting the System" are now available on our channel at Now playing: Elizabeth (and John) Edwards, Lawrence Lessig, ... Read More

Daily Digest: A New And Improved YouChoose '08

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, February 21 2008

YouTube re-imagines YouChoose '08; remixes his "Yes We Can" video with mixed results; Joe Trippi speaks the truth, tells it like it is; a skeptic about a Lessig run for Congress and the first interview with ... Read More

Daily Digest: All Talk Or More Substance?

BY Joshua Levy | Wednesday, February 20 2008

Obama beats Clinton in Wisconsin and Hawaii, maybe with the help of a text campaign; a tech consultant analyzes Clinton and Obama's policy proposals and finds that Obama actually has more substance; more videos appear ... Read More

Daily Digest: Obama Unveils His Tech Policy

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, November 15 2007

Barack Obama makes waves with a far-reaching tech policy: will other candidates follow suit?; anti-Giuliani and anti-Paul videos gain some traction; and a new game from John McCain is fun, or controversial, or both. We ... Read More

Free the Debates Wins; Kudos to CNN

BY Micah L. Sifry | Saturday, May 5 2007

The bipartisan coalition to "Free the Debates" has won a major victory, with the decision of CNN to make all its debate coverage "available without restrictions at the conclusion of each live debate." Read More

Daily Digest: 4/25/07

BY Joshua Levy | Wednesday, April 25 2007

The Web on the Candidates MySpace and Mark Burnett (producer of TV shows like Rock Star: INXS) are working together on a new reality show that will search for an independent presidential candidate. "Contestants in the ... Read More