Worldwide Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon Series

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*<span style="background-color:red">London</span>
*<span style="background-color:red">London</span>
*<span style="background-color:red">Tokyo</span>
*<span style="background-color:red">Tokyo</span>
*<span style="background-color:yellow">Santiago Chile - IN PROGRESS, hugo baronti </span>
==San Francisco==
==San Francisco==

Revision as of 10:39, 30 October 2013

The Worldwide Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathons generated considerable interest and engagement, but there's more work to be done!

The Second Worldwide Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 8. Our official page is here but this wiki is for coordinating projects.

We are also using #aaronswhack on and can be reached on the list



"We were part of an inchoate, ad-hoc community of collaborators who helped each other learn how to code. No, not how to write code ‒ how to write code for the purpose of changing the world." - Zooko, on memories of Aaron (full post here)


Structure of the event (condensed from meeting notes):

  • In advance at each location, (at least) one presenter is chosen to "pitch" what they consider a vital project. This project should be eminently hackable -- the presenter or another volunteer who knows the project well should be prepared to help interested parties get involved, at many skill levels.
  • The event starts like a hybrid (un-)conference, with introductions and short presentations. The pre-announced presenter(s) do these presentations, and during the introductions people can offer or request talks, which are added as time permits on the spot. Total presentation time should be ~1.5-2hrs. Presentations are recorded and immediately posted online (or streamed), for remote participants or people at other hackathons to see.
  • Then there's open time to work.
  • Finally, at the end of the event, there are 1.5-2hrs of demonstrations of results. Anyone can sign up on the site with info about project status to get a demo slot. Demos are also recorded and posted online, cross-referenced with individuals and projects.

Proposed Dates

  • Set up a event webpage - Done (Sept.)
  • Recruit hacklabs (as hosts) and activists (as PMs) - Ongoing (Sept./Oct.)
  • Get signal-boosting web coverage - Ongoing (Sept./Oct.)
  • Run events - Nov. 8 weekend

Projects to Work on

  • tor2web and jot2tor (virgil, SF)(oliver, BOS) : Tor2web makes it possible for internet users to view content from Tor hidden services. It's online in a (mostly) functioning form at . Jot2tor is an extension of this allowing users to use Aaron's framework to easily create pages hosted on hidden services. Naturally, pages created via jot2tor are accessible from tor2web. Aaron and I actually worked on both of these projects until his death.
  • Fork the Law (Christie (talk), SF) Fork the Law has spent the last few months working out what ordinary people need to know in order to effect legislative change. We're now working on condensing this down to a set of technical design requirements. We'd like to dig into turning the requirements into code, integrating existing open source applications and other services wherever possible. The repository for the development effort is
  • Archiving Aaron's writings (psawaya, SF). I think it'd be helpful to produce an archive of Aaron's writings, as the formatting on his blog isn't well-organized or good for reading on mobile devices. Some projects might include producing ePub and MOBI versions, organizing and tagging his writing, making it searchable, and perhaps even making it annotatable. It may be possible to build off of this project. I recall not finding a Creative Commons declaration on Aaron's blog, though this project certainly seems to be in alignment with his ideals. Yan suggested talking about it with Noah Swartz.
  • Prosecutorial Overreach/Underreach: The DOJ turns a blind eye to war criminals and Wall St crooks yet throws the book at activists like Aaron. I've registered 14 domains that are variations of the three main prosecutors in Aaron's trail (i.e.,, etc.) The names Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann are already synonymous with abuse of power. Let's cement that while drawing attention to other activists/whistleblowers who are being prosecuted for non-crimes. While we're at it, let's give prosecutors something useful to do by highlighting well documented but unprosecuted crimes (I'm looking at you John Yoo/Jamie Dimon/James Clapper).
  • Transparency Toolkit (shidash, ?): Unfortunately Shidash is unavailable, but maybe someone else could do it?
  • Restore the Fourth placeholder. We'll know more closer to the date about which of our projects would benefit the most from this. Options include the various encrpytion/meshnet/other coding aspects, blog posts and other content development, or drafting policy documents and researching for coalition-building.
  • Indie Box: Set up our own web applications on cheap Linux devices (like the Raspberry Pi) in our own homes:
  • Overview Project (Ian, SF): an open-source tool to help journalists (or anyone!) find stories in large sets of documents, by automatically sorting them according to topic and providing a fast visualization and reading interface. It's a way to quickly make sense of huge leaks, FOIA responses, and document dumps using a combination of clever algorithms and human intuition. Remember, transparency is meaningless if nobody's watching. Homepage: Source:
  • Client-side encryption (Daniel, SF): a library for creating web apps that encrypt user data before sending it to the server. This is an attempt at keeping the convenience of cloud storage while retaining data privacy.

Activists/Groups to reach out to

Feel free to add to the list or contact someone you know at one of these!

  • Praveen (SF) - California prison reform/hunger strike stuff (contacted)
  • Willow (Cambridge?) - Hackers Without Borders (contacted)
  • EFF - pgpbot, other tech projects? (contacted)
  • Internet Archive - (will host reception in SF)
  • Mozilla - (contacted)
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation - (contacted)
  • OpenITP - (contacted)
  • Mailpile - (contacted)
  • Wikimedia - (contacted)
  • Maplight - Contacted
  • Restore the Fourth - (contacted)
  • Demand Progress
  • Digital Right Northwest (Seattle - Contacted)


Please include the main organizer name and email. This list is non-authoritative: please see the official website for an up-to-date list of locations.

  • Nosebridge, SF - CONFIRMED, yan (yan at mit dot edu)
  • Boston, MA - CONFIRMED, willow leading (Media Lab)
  • Chicago, IL - CONFIRMED, brian (brianhray at gmail dot com)
  • Seattle, WA - CONFIRMED, Jigsaw Renaissance, Noah leading
  • Austin - IN PROGRESS, samantha mahool
  • Netz39, Germany - IN PROGRESS, katharina holstein
  • NYC - CONFIRMED, 630 Flushing Ave, rmo (rmo at numm . org)
  • Zagreb - CONFIRMED, david (david at numm . org)
  • Hacklab Barracas, Buenos Aires Event Site - CONFIRMED, nicolás reynolds
  • Bangalore - contacted & interested, in progress
  • Berlin - CONFIRMED, samuel carlisle
  • Amsterdam - CONFIRMED, TechInc Hackersspace, vesna manojlovic (becha at xs4all . nl)
    • Talk to samthetechie at the c-base for more info
  • Houston, TX (combined with civic hackathon) - jeff at januaryadvisors. com
  • Paris
  • London
  • Tokyo
  • Santiago Chile - IN PROGRESS, hugo baronti

San Francisco

In memory of hacker activist Aaron Swartz, let's get together for a weekend to work on projects for social/political reform, information freedom, preserving our rights on the Internet, and making the world we want to live in. Everyone is welcome, regardless of whether or not you code. This event is being organized by User:Yan, so get in touch if you have questions.

We'll be working on several open source projects simultaneously with developers from Tor, EFF, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Mozilla, and other organizations (see projects list above). All of them need your help, no matter who you are! Come find out how you can help us fight mass surveillance and protect whistleblowers, or work on something important that you've been putting off for years, or simply hang out and learn how to use encryption.

Note that the event kicks off at the Internet Archive on Nov 8 but will be at Noisebridge for the rest of the weekend.


Nov. 8 (at the Internet Archive)

  • 5 pm: The Internet Archive opens for early hacking! Yan and possibly others will be around to help people find projects to work on.
  • 6:30 pm: Reception starts at the Internet Archive. Come mingle.
  • 7:30 pm: The event kicks off at the Internet Archive on Friday evening with talks from Cindy Cohn (legal director of the EFF), Kevin Poulsen (editor of Wired), Brewster Kahle (founder of the Internet Archive), and others TBA.
  • 9 pm: Let's start hacking! (Until we get kicked out of the Internet Archive around 10 pm, at which point we might move to Noisebridge?)

Nov. 9 (at Noisebridge)

  • 11 am - sleepytime: Hackathon starts up again at Noisebridge! We'll start with more project presentations and then spend the rest of the day working. Come by any time.

Nov. 10 (at Noisebridge)

  • 11 am: More hacking at Noisebridge!
  • 4 pm: DEMO TIME. Come demo what you've done over the weekend. Afterwards we'll head to the Sycamore for celebration.

Who's going

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