“Freedom of speech means freedom for those who you despise, and freedom to express the most despicable views. It also means that the government cannot pick and choose which expressions to authorize and which to prevent” – Alan Dershowitz
In many cases, questioning or even challenging a political figure can lead to self-governing values. Over the course of American history, independence and liberty are perceived as precedential conventions; however, the United States government has evolved into a domineering figure in American society. Authoritative dominance is considered an offensive proverb in the eyes of American citizens, and as a result, many extremists push for sovereignty and independence through various mediums.
Evidently, a new set of revolutionaries, known as server hackers, have instigated freedom of speech and expression via the World Wide Web. Each specialized hacker has their own standpoint on computer hacking; whether it is for good or evil endeavors, hackers have expressed reliable messages into their handiwork.
In recent years, domestic hackers had broken into military archives which held 70 million US veterans’ social security accounts. Some theories say that the government publicized this issue for media attention, but others believe that hackers have become increasingly versatile in their efforts to hinder the American government. An unencrypted drive, which held these archives, had failed during an analytic test, leaving a controversial speculation—was the drive an accidental blunder or was the drive simply hacked by oppositionists. In truth, the drive was intruded upon, and the Veterans Affairs (VA) discovered that these hackers tapped into the hard drive and obtained twenty million dollars’ worth of information about United States veterans. These hackers cajoled the minds of the VA, and tested their online securities out of pure amusement. In the end, Veterans Affairs have disclosed this case leak to be a simple malfunction in their mechanics, but the public has grown knowledgeably aware of the dumbfounded lies that the government feeds for the press.
Anthem—the second-largest health insurer in the United States—holds over two-hundred million membership accounts; correspondingly, each account was recently tinkered with by unknown assailants. Due to this abrupt interference in late-February, 2015, IT experts have started investing their time into finding these formidable oppositionists. Theorists believe that Anthem’s oppositionists were formed from the Anthem’s pitiable coverage on healthcare deductibles and their high-rated premiums (this notion falls under cogency because of the evidence that supports it). Thus, Anthem has progressed in health insurance for American citizens and veterans in hope that this sort of drawback never happens again.
Another compelling cyberattack was on the JPMorgan Chase bank back in June of 2014. This story is compelling, yet mystifying, because of the severity and inanity. The accounts of seventy-six million households and seven million small businesses were compromised. By July of 2014, JP Morgan’s security teams scrambled to find a source of the incursion, but the security teams revealed encroached computer programs and the suspected tampering of account holder information (names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails). Now what makes this so mystifying, is the lack of security and the lack of awareness. American (corporation-based) banks are viewed as relatively safe from online attacks, but now, the public can conclude that Americanized banks are mere stepping-stones for more incursions to come.
One specific case leak that peaks all others is the case of Aaron Swartz. In order to comprehend with Aaron’s case, people need to interpret his background and his expertise. Aaron Hillel Swartz was born in Chicago, Illinois; and at a young age, Swartz immersed himself in computing services, programing, and the entire Internet culture. He even left high school in the 10th grade, and progressed to post-secondary education in Chicago, then to Stanford. Aaron Swartz applied himself to Infogami, Reddit, and the illustrious magazine, Wired.
While taking on entrepreneurship, young Swartz advocated against government restrictive legislation. The Stop Online Privacy Act (SOAP), which sought to combat Internet copyright violations, was criticized on the basis that it would have made it easier for the U.S. government to shut down web sites accused of violating copyright and would have placed intolerable burdens on Internet providers. In his famous speech, “How We Stopped SOAP”, Swartz fought for freedom for all Internet users.
Behind his Samaritanism and occupational endeavors, Aaron Swartz bared a remarkable expertise in hacking servers and online applications; however, his expertise brought him into litigation with the United States government. According to state and federal authorities, Swartz used JSTOR (Journal Storage), a digital repository, to download a large number of academic journal articles through MIT\’s computer network over the course of a few weeks in late 2010 and early 2011. The authorities discovered that Swartz had downloaded the documents through a laptop connected to a networking switch in a controlled-access wiring closet at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Swartz was arrested by MIT police on January 6th, 2011, and later, Swartz was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. On September 12, 2012, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment adding nine more felony counts, which increased Swartz\’s maximum criminal exposure to 50 years of imprisonment and one million dollars in fines.
On January 11th, 2013, the beloved hacktivist committed suicide and was found—by his girlfriend—hanging from a rope in their apartment. Aaron Swartz did not deserve this fate under the demise of the US government. Swartz was but a simple Samaritan, who lived his life in complete anguish and challenged the corrupt and futile governing body that runs this nation to its crumbling foundation. After his death, the federal court dropped the charges, but this was purely unjust. Swartz’s death left everyone in shambles, from his family members to other acquainted hackers; likewise, everyone had a message for the United States government.
Consequently, Aaron’s loved ones embodied the same seditious charisma as Aaron himself, and stood against the federal government. Robert Swartz (father of Aaron) and Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman (girlfriend of Aaron) blamed the government for the death of the bright, youthful hacker. After his family’s response, news tabloids of his death lead to worldwide commemoratives and memorials to his life and work. The press, political artistes, tribute films/documentaries, and hackers from international revolutionary groups all came together for a prolongation of Aaron Swartz.
Aaron Hillel Swartz was the most prominent figure to the Internet culture. His life consisted of American computer programming, entrepreneurship, political organizing and Internet hacktivism. Swartz’s work will live on for as long as society can remember. All in all, society can now thank the deceased Aaron Swartz for his studious behavior in expanding the freedom of speech and expression for all Internet users, alike.