AAron swartz day Brisbane


Internet Freedom Hackathon

Friday 17th November – Sunday 19th November

ThoughtWorks Brisbane

19/127 Creek St


The Internet Freedom Hackathon is a celebration of the life and work of Aaron Swartz.

You are invited to join us to celebrate Aaron Swartz Day as we further his work and create things that improve privacy for the powerless and transparency for the powerful.

We need developers, experience designers, visual designers, quality analysts, business analysts, puzzle solvers, ideas people, managers, and anyone else with an interest in collaborative development, or the causes of privacy, digital rights, transparency, or accountability. We'll form teams – you don't need to be an expert in any field.

The event will take place on the weekend of 17th-19th November 2017 at ThoughtWorks' Brisbane office and all meals and drinks will be provided. 

suggest an idea

Internet freedom means a lot of things.

We want an internet that makes us more connected, more ourselves, and more equal. But the internet of today can make us more isolated, more afraid to be ourselves, and more like the property of tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

For submitting ideas, we’re encouraging you to think big:

  • How can the internet be a force for good in our personal lives?
  • How can the internet be a force for good in society?
  • Can we use the internet in a different way to how we use it today?
  • What existing projects can we build on or support?

For examples of the kinds of ideas you could work on, think about Aaron Swartz's projects:

  • SecureDrop: lets whistleblowers talk to journalists anonymously even if they're both under surveillance.
  • Web.py: a tiny Python framework which makes it fun to start building functional websites.
  • Open Library: a site with one page for every book ever published.
  • Stop SOPA Campaign: to get the internet’s most-visited websites to “blackout” in protest of laws that would hurt sharing.

Ideas can be big and crazy or just for fun – they are starting points, and they don’t have to be technical. The event is about getting together with like-minded people, getting started and having fun, evolving our ideas as we go.

The best ideas for the weekend will be:

  • clear
  • achievable
  • something that improves your life or the life of someone you know
  • something you would like to work on over the weekend with a team of 4-6 people

Get ready to present your idea on the Friday night. If your idea doesn't get selected, don't worry; you can join forces with someone else – we'll make sure that you're part of a group.

Please send us a sentence or two describing your ideas using the form below and we'll put them up here. Get your thinking hats on and submit as many as you like!


Liam Pomfret

HDR Student - PhD, Associate Lecturer in Marketing

Liam Pomfret is an Associate Lecturer in Marketing and a PhD candidate in the UQ Business School at The University of Queensland. His research looks into the antecedent social factors influencing consumers' privacy protection and sharing behaviours in social media. He currently serves on the boards of both the Australian Privacy Foundation and Electronic Frontiers Australia, and is a founding member of Digital Rights Watch Australia. He previously stood for Pirate Party Australia as a senate candidate for Queensland in the 2013 Federal Election.

Subject: Systems of Change for promoting Social Good

Matthew Rimmer

Professor, Intellectual Property and Innovation, Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Dr Matthew Rimmer is a Professor in Intellectual Property and Innovation Law at the Faculty of Law, at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He is a leader of the QUT Intellectual Property and Innovation Law research program, and a member of the QUT Digital Media Research Centre (QUT DMRC) the QUT Australian Centre for Health Law Research (QUT ACHLR), and the QUT International Law and Global Governance Research Program. Rimmer has published widely on copyright law and information technology, patent law and biotechnology, access to medicines, plain packaging of tobacco products, intellectual property and climate change, and Indigenous Intellectual Property. He is currently working on research on intellectual property, the creative industries, and 3D printing; intellectual property and public health; and intellectual property and trade, looking at the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the Trade in Services Agreement


Monique Mann

Lecturer at School of Justice, Member of CJRC and IPIL in the Faculty of Law at Queensland university of technology (QUT)

Dr Monique Mann is a lecturer at the School of Justice, Faculty of Law, at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. She is a member of the Crime and Justice Research Centre and the Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Group at QUT Law. Monique is advancing a program of socio-legal research on the intersecting topics of police technology, biometrics, transnational online policing and surveillance. She is on the Board of Directors of the Australian Privacy Foundation and the Advisory Council of Digital Rights Watch Australia.

Justin Clacherty

Managing Director, Redfish.
Founding member, Future wise Australia.

Justin is Founder and Managing Director of Redfish Group Pty Ltd, a small product development firm specialising in development of electronic products and embedded systems. He has over 20 years experience as a professional engineer developing products for various industries including mining, power generation and distribution, telecommunications, law enforcement, transport, industrial electronics, and consumer electronics. Justin has a keen interest in information security and has presented at industry conferences including AusCERT and PyCon Australia. Outside of work Justin is a founding member of Future Wise Australia, an Australian NGO which focuses on improving discussion and policy around technology, health, and education. He has recently accepted a position on the board of the Australian Privacy Foundation.

Katrina Donaghy

Co Founder, Business Development Lead at Civic Ledger

Through Katrina's early years as a sociologist through to her interest in entrepreneurialism, she has extensive experience in public policy and early stage commercialisation. For more than 20 years, Katrina has worked in both public and not for profit sectors with a specific focus on business development, project delivery and revenue diversification with the view to building resilient and sustainable organisations.

In Australia, she organises Women in Blockchain events and regularly speaks on the topic of why cities and governments should be exploring blockchain technologies. Katrina's interest in blockchain technologies is driven by her curiousity of its potential for governments to create and facilitate new citizen-at-the-centre markets, organisations and economies of the future.

Glen Arrowsmith is the CTO at FunCaptcha, a Brisbane cybersecurity company fighting bots, spam & online fraud. At Halfbrick Studios, he built the web services team and an API capable of handling 9 million request per hour.

Glen also organises the Camp.js code retreat & Brisbane's International Nodebots day, presents at various meetups and mentors at the odd hackathon.

Glen Arrowsmith

CTO, Funcaptcha. Organiser, Campjs & Nodebots




ThoughtWorks Brisbane Office

Level 19 / 127 Creek St,

Brisbane City QLD 4000


Friday 17th

  • 5:30 pm | Arrival and registration
  • 6:10 pm | Introduction and keynote (Liam Pomfret)
  • 6:40 pm | Pitches - 4 minutes each
  • 7:20 pm | Team formation
  • 7:35 pm | Hacking begins
  • 10:00 pm | End of Day 1

Saturday 18th

  • 8:00 am | Venue opens
  • 8:30 am | Breakfast
  • 11:50am | Mathew Rimmer talk
  • 12:15 pm | Lunch
  • 10:00 pm | End of Day 2

Sunday 19th

  • 8:00 am | Venue opens
  • 8:30 am | Breakfast
  • 12:00 pm | Lunch
  • 2:00 pm | Presentations
  • 3:30 pm | Winners announced
  • 4:00 pm | End of Day 3


Aaron Swartz Day was founded in 2013 after the death of Aaron Swartz, with these combined goals:

  1. To draw attention to what happened to Aaron, in the hopes of stopping it from happening to anyone else. This includes clarifying that, although Aaron was a hacker, he didn’t hack MIT.
  2. To provide a yearly showcase of many of the projects that were started by Aaron before his death.
  3. To provide a yearly showcase of new projects that were directly inspired by Aaron and his work.

The documentary film "The Internet's Own Boy" tells Aaron's story very well. It can be downloaded from archive.org or streamed here.



Clayton Nyakana

Organiser, Facilitator



Eru Penkman




Robin Doherty



Larene LeGassick



Pamela Rucinque



Andrew Jones



Harsh Pandya