Aaron Swartz film trailer released with anti-NSA message

The Internet activist's supporters use Swartz's own words to launch a campaign against government surveillance.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
Footage of Internet activist Aaron Swartz. Screenshot by Donna Tam/CNET

The filmmaker behind the new Aaron Swartz documentary is using the film's recently released trailer to rally support for a campaign against mass surveillance.

It's fitting cause for the documentary of a man famous for his fight with the US government over Internet freedoms, and the new trailer uses Swartz's words to spur more action. The film, called "The Internet's Own Boy," premieres at the Sundance Film Festival next week.

Swartz was a 26-year-old activist who committed suicide last year while under federal prosecution. He was accused of stealing 4 million documents from MIT and JSTOR, an archive of scientific journals and academic papers. Swartz played a pivotal role in the campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.

The new trailer includes clips of Swartz talking about stopping the abuses of government surveillance.

Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger released the trailer in conjunction with a campaign against recently surfaced NSA surveillance projects, according to a press release sent out Monday.

"Aaron's story is more powerful and important now than ever," Knappenberger said in the release. "Telling the story of SOPA for the film reminded me how dynamic that effort was -- new tools were marshaled to change the political landscape in ways that seemed to perfectly modernize democratic government. We need to keep that creativity, drive and ability for people to tell their own story alive. We are going to need it to address the failings of the surveillance state."

The campaign will culminate in a day of protest, called "The Day We Fight Back," on February 11, according to organizers who have vowed to barrage lawmakers with phone calls and messages. Watch the trailer below.