The Writer/Director of We Are Legion the Story of the Hacktivists is currently at work creating a new documentary about the internet visionary and activist Arron Swartz. Aaron’s powerful story is a poignant chronology of internet history, as well as a story about the cracks in an outdated legal system that lead to such tragic consequences.
If funded, the new documentary will also have an original soundtrack by “We Are Legion” composer John Dragonetti. The project is an opportunity to explore the influence one incredibly talented programmer and celebrated internet visionary had on the discussion of information access and what his involvement in such a volatile subject means for all internet users. HELP US MAKE THE FILM! Support the Kickstarter!
Since we all love the internet, everyone involved with the film is also a fan of the Internet Archive. Among other things, it is home to the biggest single (and searchable) collection of NASA images, the Open Library, and of course, the Wayback Machine. Join filmmaker Brian Knappenberger, journalists Quinn Norton and Ryan Singel and lawyer Thomas Nolan for a screening of “We Are Legion: the Story of the Hacktivists” on Friday, March 22nd in the “Great Hall.” If you are in the Bay area, come see the film and stay for what promises to be a fascinating night of discussion about Anonymous and internet activism!
415 561 6767
300 Funston Ave.
San Francisco, CA, 94118
6pm – Reception
7pm – Film
8:40pm – Panel discussion
Barrett Brown, a self-proclaimed spokesperson for Anonymous, has been indicted on federal charges for the third time in four months.
The latest charges, filed by Texas authorities in late January, alleged that the 31-year-old was hiding evidence during a raid on his apartment in March 2012.
Brown, who was interviewed extensively for We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, was arrested in September after a separate raid on his Dallas home that was captured live by a web camera. Brown was video chatting with several individuals at the time of the raid. The FBI action came on the heels of the release of a YouTube video, in which Brown threatened to “dox” an FBI Agent named Robert Smith.
Brown was charged with making internet threats, among other claims. In December, he was hit with a second round of charges for his alleged role in the Stratfor Global Intelligence hack.
Brown has been in jail since September. Jay Leiderman, a California-based attorney who has represented various hacktivists including Brown, told Brian Knappenberger, We Are Legion‘s director, that the charges are excessive.
“He’s now facing 100 years by my calculation. His crimes? Allegedly making YouTube videos, sharing a link and, now, hiding a laptop computer,” Leiderman said.
More than two years after Anonymous brought down the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, a court in the U.K. has handed down its first jail terms to two people who were accused of aiding in the high-profile hack. The sentencing came just months before some of the founding members of LulzSec are set to face charges in London for a series of hacks the group reportedly masterminded.
Christopher Weatherhead, 22, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while Ashley Rhodes, 28, was sentenced to 7 months in late January, for using their home computers to launch DDoS attacks as part of Operation Payback.
According to Forbes, Judge Peter Testar told Weatherhead and Ashley during the sentencing that it was“intolerable that when an individual or a group disagrees with a particular entity’s activities, they should be free to curtail that activity by means of attacks such as those which took place in this case.”
Another defendant, Peter Gibson, was slapped with a 6-month sentence, suspended for 2 years, reports the BBC.
Richard Thieme talks Wikileaks and why hackers and others are so angry over the treatment of Bradley Manning.
In response to threats of internet censorship, the hacktivist collective Anonymous has joined the fray as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues. In retaliation of missiles fired by Gaza militants, an Israeli air strike against the Gaza-Strip began on November 14th. CNN reports that as of November 19th, the death toll has reached approximately 100 Palestinians and three Israelis.
One day after the fighting began, Anonymous posted this video on YouTube. According to its speaker,while Anonymous has “stood by with the rest of the world and watched in despair the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people,” a line was crossed when Israel threatened to “sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza”. The speaker goes on to say, ”We are Anonymous, and nobody shuts down the internet on our watch,” promising Palestinians that ”We will use all our resources to make sure you stay connected to the internet and you remain able to transmit your experiences to the world.”
Using the handle #OpIsrael, members of Anonymous are posting to an on-going list (now topping 650) of Israeli websites that have been defaced. The Examiner reports that they have also leaked the personal information of 5000 Israeli officials. According to The Telegraph, there were over 44 million hacking attempts against Israeli government websites over the weekend, with the most damage being done by Anonymous.
Similar to activities seen during the Arab Spring, Anonymous has created a “care package” for Palestinians. The first section contains first aid information. The second half includes instructions for getting online if the internet is shut down. Both sections are written in Arabic and English.
According to The Examiner, the UAE has made it illegal to wear a Guy Fawkes mask. A statement by a Dubai Police official warns that, “Using any symbol that insults the country or instigates unrest against its system is not allowed.”
The wait is over! The DVD and BluRays for We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists ire now available. The DVD has an extra 20 minutes of material, including outtakes and extras from the thousands of hours of footage we shot for the film. These include gems like Tech writer Richard Theime talking about how hackers need to “nurture their dark side.” Get it directly from the filmmakers here or via Amazon.
This weekend, We Are Legion wrapped up its Canadian run, after playing for two weeks in theatres across Toronto, Victoria, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. The documentary was met with positive reviews from the Canadian press, including the Winnipeg Free Press, Canadian Dimension, and O.Canada.com.
At the same time, We Are Legion played at two special engagements. After a great three-day run at the Seattle International Film Festival this June, the film was brought back for a special engagement at the organization’s beautifully restored theatre SIFF Cinema Uptown, for a weekend engagement. The documentary also played to a large audience in Manchester, at a screening held by Kino Indie Features. Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger was present (via Skype) for a Q&A with the audience, following the UK screening.
We Are Legion has had its first of three screenings at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. IDFA, the world’s largest documentary film festival, celebrates its 24th anniversary this year. The prestigious festival averages 120,000 visitors each year. It continues through this weekend, with additional performances of We Are Legion on Thursday and Sunday. For more information, please check out the IDFA website.