Worldwide Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon Series

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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 irc.oftc.net and can be reached on the list aaronswhack@numm.org

Contents

Motivation

"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)

Format

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 http://tor2web.org . Jot2tor is an extension of this allowing users to use Aaron's jottit.com 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 https://github.com/fork-the-law/hancock.
  • 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.
  • HTTPS Everywhere (yan, SF): an EFF browser extension to encrypt the web that Aaron worked on. There are a lot of tickets that we could work on, including making an Opera port of the extension.
  • 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. carmenortiz.org, stephenheymann.org, 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.

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 - NEED CONTACT
  • Mozilla - (contacted)
  • Tor - NEED CONTACT
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation - (contacted)
  • OpenITP - (contacted)
  • Mailpile - (contacted)
  • Wikimedia - NEED CONTACT
  • Maplight - Contacted
  • Restore the Fourth - (contacted)

Locations

Please include the main organizer name and email.

  • Nosebridge, SF - CONFIRMED, yan (yan at mit dot edu)
  • Boston, MA - CONFIRMED, willow leading (Media Lab)
  • Chicago, IL - CONFIRMED, brian
  • Seattle, WA - CONFIRMED, Jigsaw Renaissance, Noah leading
  • Austin - IN PROGRESS, samantha mahool
  • Netz39, Germany - IN PROGRESS, katharina holstein
  • Hacklab Barracas, Buenos Aires - IN PROGRESS, nicholas reynolds
  • Bangalor
  • Berlin - CONFIRMED, samuel carlisle
    • Talk to samthetechie at the c-base for more info
  • Paris
  • London
  • Zagreb (+ other balkan)
  • Tokyo

Suggested to Join in

Organizing a Hackathon in general

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