New Wave Activism

The link above contains the story of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange giving praise to Edward Snowden the man responsible for uncovering mass surveillance strategies by the United States government.  the name Julian Assange holds special weight, because his site Wikileaks is responsible for uncovering some of the largest injustices and worldwide government secrets for the past decade.  With the impact of actual protest and activism dwindling over the past few decades global citizens are finding new ways to protest the power structure.  The most successful and new form of activism has been given the name “hacktivism”.  A short history of the worlds most influential hacktivist actions are below.

As far as the the every day person is concerned, the internet may be the largest way for normal citizens to make a difference.  The web has made it possible for information to move very quickly.  Just as culture and comedic things can quickly travel through message boards, forums and social networks, so can the details of a global event or development.  Sites such as Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange have been deemed as heroes of this time period.  The release of documents on several key global events such as details of United States governments actions toward terrorist suspects at Guantanamo bay and the recent release of the Kissinger cables (confidential diplomatic documents) are some of the most dynamic pieces of investigative  reporting in recent history.  Many question whether it is morally correct for websites such as Wikileaks to function.  They also question how these sites or hackers may obtain their information.  Regardless of the way in which they acquired their information, many can nt deny the impact or the importance of most of the information they have released.

Hacktivism can cause quite a stir. Hackers are capable of causing a fair amount of mayhem in order to prove a point.  The question is, when is this still considered a new form of activism and when is it considered a crime?

Do you view hacktivism as a positive or a negative aspect of internet culture?

Would you personally view websites such as Wikileaks or other hacktivists to be justified in their actions?

Do you think governments there should be tough law for those caught engaging in hacktivism?

Is there a better way for citizens to engage in protest, rather than online?


Julian Assange

Julian Assange (Photo credit: acidpolly)


17 thoughts on “New Wave Activism

  1. I view hacktivism to be a negative aspect of the internet culture. It gives people a reason to be afraid to put stuff out there on the internet because you never know who will gain access to it. No, I would never view websites that hacktivists use, I find that to be really unnecessary. I think that government should be a bit more demanding on putting an end to hacking but they arent. I think that citizens need to let the word be put out there. Make a petition online, is a website entirely made for people to make petitions about everyday things. These petitions get hundreds of thousands of people to sign them. I think if the people make their voice heard, something will change.

  2. I think exposing someone’s wrongful doing’s is activism, but exposing their personal information in order to get revenge is wrong. I think the word is too often used as a blanket statement for activism, which it sometimes goes way past.

    Online protesting has done a lot of good recently. Most revolutions in the Middle East were made possible because of the internet, and if you ask me, that’s an amazing thing. It is a good way to get the ball rolling and share opinions and protest. The problem is only when one thing ends and another begins. In the case of people vs the government – to be honest, I think is great. In the case of people vs. people…. aka – he’s rude to me so I’m going to ruin his life online – I don’t think it’s okay.

  3. I view hacktivism as a negative aspect of internet culture, because as a user of the internet I know that I would hate if any of my personal accounts got hacked. I wouldn’t view websites such as Wikileaks to be justified in their actions. I don’t think it’s ever right for someone to hack into somebody else’s personal accounts. To me that’s like an invasion of privacy. I do think that people should be punished if they we caught engaging in hacktivism. Whether it’s a fine of something else, I do think people need to learn their lessons. I’m not really big on protesting, but I do think that there are better ways for citizens to engage in protesting rather than online.

  4. Hacktivism I believe is a negative byproduct of the power and freedom of technology used by the mass pubic. I don’t believe it is justified even if something big is exposed. Privacy is something that will soon be extinct in our culture. From the government wanting to know what we are doing, to the hackers intrusively finding out almost anything they want, privacy is dead, I think punishment for hacktivism should never result in serious prison time but a fine would certainly seem adequate.

  5. It’s a fine line with this one. On one hand I wouldn’t want stifle any type of activism; it’s these types of efforts that has evoked positive change in many areas including political, social and economic situations. Different methods of activism have been used, including boycotts, rallies, and sit-ins. The newest form of activism, Hacktivism exposes people to a wide range of “self professed” injustices, but at what cost. To break the law and put people at risk is a bit hard to accept.

  6. I feel that online protests are currently some of the most powerful. The fact that the protest is their for not only the people of that area to see but also the world adds way more weight behind the pressure on the government, corporation, or individual being protested. I see Hacktivism as a positive but it can quickly become a negative when the protesters cross the line. I feel when this line is crossed punishment should be handed out. The hard part is who is it that would hand out this punishment. With the scope of the internet being International who’s laws apply. I feel this is a bridge that needs to be crossed but I am not sure what the solution is. Maybe a UN style delegation but then again the UN doesn’t work vary well.

    Sites like Wikileaks are helpful to help stop injustice on the internet. The information that was uncovered was hard to imagine. The stuff about how the government was tracking citizens internet usage and now NSA pact with technology companies is pretty crazy, but the videos posted of operations in Iraq ad Afghanistan were a big wrong doing. I can see why they thought they were important to post but that is treason or in Assange’s case a war crime. The line of right and wrong is blurring and curvy making it a personal judgment on what is right and wrong. I am sure some people will agree with me and others disagree but until laws are made about this stuff then it is a moral question not a legal question.

  7. I am not a captain of industry so I support most intelligent hacktivist groups that don’t advocate senseless violence. The idea that wealthy governments should be free from dissent or scrutiny is outrageous. I’m supposed to hate anonymous because they seek to punish those who are above the law, like Steven Segal? They are anonymous because they don’t wish to wake up dead. What’s the difference between Anonymous and let’s say Zorro?

  8. Hacktivism in my opinion is a crime. When people expose government secrets that compromise the safety and integrity of the American it is a crime. Hackers have compromised the bank accounts of people and have released people’s personal information. That’s all wrong. I think if people want to protest policies and make a statement then they can do it the old fashioned way, they don’t have to go out and hack innocent people and compromise the safety of millions just to make a point. This is just my opinion, I’m sure in some cases its justifiable but in most I don’t think it is.

  9. I think hacktivism is viewed negatively to the public, but I think the people who are doing the hacking view it positively. I don’t think I can justify Wikileaks and other hacktivists actions, but I can see where they are coming from. They feel like people should be punished or the public show know some of the government’s secrets. I think there are already tough laws on hacktivists, but it’s just a matter of the people getting caught. I think the internet is a good place for protest, but there are other ways to get things done. A popular solution is sending a letter or email to a state congressman or politician. Letters are more genuine and I think people would view them as more sincere.

  10. I view hactivism as negative although it has been proven to uncover information it has been mostly overbearing. This is obviously a crime. Protesting has occurred for years maybe people who don’t support hactivism including myself should protest via online blogs or YouTube.

  11. I feel as though hacktivism is definitely negative. I don’t think it’s right that people feel like they can just go and hack all of your information just because they don’t like something you said or did. I feel like this is the cowards approach to things. “Oh I don’t like your views, I’m going to find all of your information and then put it all over the public web.” How is that fair?
    Plus, most people who do this hide behind the mask of anonymity. They won’t come out and say that they don’t like something until they know that they can safely be untraceable. I think it should be treated like a crime because you are hacking secure/private information and for the most part, intending to do some sort or harm, whether mental or physical, to the person who’s information you have.
    No one just hacks to see information and then neatly put it all back in order. When they do, there is always some sort of malicious intent. If you work hard enough to get the information, you’re probably going to go and use it for whatever you want. You’re invading the person’s privacy to harm them, therefore you should be prosecuted for the crime you have committed.
    Hopefully in the near future, we will be able to have a little more control of things like this and save human privacy before it completely disappears.

  12. The question posed is very interesting. In my opinion, there are times when people can see both sides, but usually, this seems to be more of a crime. I would have to say that hacktivism is a negative impact to internet culture. It is know that nothing is really 100% secure, but still, privacy is expected. I really don’t see the justification of the hacking, but there are two sides to every story. I mean, I can’t think of anything reasonable, but one can’t always just judge. I do think that there should be a law for hacktivists. It really doesn’t seem right. I do think there are better forms of protest, rather than online, but then again people don’t always believe everything online. It does depend on the situation. Due to our generation, protest would be online.

  13. If you saw keys in the ignition of a rather expensive unlocked car, and chose to steal it, it is still stealing. If you happen to “stumble” upon some very private documents on the web, and took those documents with the intent of exploiting them, the repercussions of that should be the same if you took the hard copy. Hacktivism is not something to be taken lightly. Protests can be hostile, and hacktivism is essentially internet hostility. Taking things without permission, using them against the creators, it all sounds good and well but realistically there are laws in place to prevent people from doing just that, as there should be. In terms of information, taking it on the web is just like taking it in person, perhaps just a little easier. It’s still theft, and the protest is not of a peaceful nature. I’d say hacktivism has a negative impact, it guides us away from the positive uses of the web. Why must we find it necessary to exploit every little thing?

  14. I think it is a great aspect of our culture. It has done more good for us than it has done bad. We are seeing how the government really is and we also are able to track terrorism or suspected terrorists. Without that, I am sure we would have been able to track these people down that have been planning attacks. Yes I do think their actions are justified. I see nothing wrong with it if they are looking for bad people. They caught that lady who killed a cat with her heel. If they are into hacking only personal information then yes. If they are hacking to find out important information to help our nation as a whole, then no. No online is the best way to protest. Information spreads everywhere online and you will obtain many others who agree or take sides with the protesters. In todays world, that definitely is the best way.

  15. I think that hacktivism is, for the most part a negative aspect of internet culture. It results in violence, illegal distribution of protected or copyright materials, and other illegal activities. It is good that people have a snese of justice, but their answer for this justice brings about more injustice. A hacktivist is justified in spreading information that deserves to be open to the public. However, if illegal activity, such as hacking a government website, is involved, then they are not justified.

    Governments should develop ways to prevent their own sites from being hacked, but beyond this, they should not have much control regarding hacktivism. It is up to the citizens. We must learn to protest in responsible ways, and not in violence or malevolence. It can be effective, but the cost does not often outweigh the benefits. The internet is a good means to promote healthy activism, but it is not used in any such way,

  16. I do believe that hacktivism causes a great deal of negative repercussions on society as well as the people involved. Although the “activist” may often have a right to stand for the certain topic, there are many other ways to go about getting your point across. As we’ve seen in the recent leaks that have been in the news, it creates a distrust between citizens and the government which translates into issues and across the board. I see it as something that separates the government and the people rather than something that fosters a productive discussion.

  17. I’m not sure how I feel about hactivism. I can see using hacking to get past government restrictions on the internet, or to blog about a cause that the government has forbidden people from speaking on. I just don’t agree with sending out malware or destroying government websites.

    If it is for productive reasons, and not just for destroying, I think it’s right and justified.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s