Hacktivism: A Path to Exploitation

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In 2013, “over 2.7 million people are using the Internet”. Of those million, there are many who use the Internet as a tool to aid them in manhunts of other people.  These people who participate in human-flesh search engines , which has become an reoccurring instance not only in China but the U.S. as well, search for others (which includes hacking into peoples computers to obtain personal information) who have done something that they did not like and fell as though they need to be punished for their actions.

For example, Netizens searched for Wang Jiao after she stomped a kitten to death.  The location of her home, her phone number, and employer were all made public, and she eventually left town. Wei became top priority to find when it was found out he was cheating on his wife, who had committed suicide.  The human-flesh search found his personal information and “even his brother’s license-plate number”. Or how about the people on 4Chan  who found Mary Bale who threw a kitten into a garbage can. Bale later had to be placed under police protection due to death threats.

Here in the U.S., Jessi  Slaughter (not her actual name), who later attempted suicide, became the target of 4Chan when she posted a video on YouTube threatening “to put a glock in her enemies mouths”  over rumors that were being spread about her. Anonymous people added her as a friend on Facebook and obtained her personal information (which is known as doxxing) and exploited her phone number and home address, sent her death threats, and even sent girls from Craigslist to her house!

In addition to these situations, hacktivism is involved in political movements/ beliefs as well.  When Pakistan blocked the IP address to the Youtube video that was an anti-Islam movie, it caused protest and conflict among Pakistians. The website WikiLeaks, lead by Julian Assange, has been created by the collaborative work of hackers to publish secret information about the government, mostly following the “hacker ethic” which two main premises: “: (1) all information should be free; (2) mistrust authority and promote decentralization.” Hacking has also affected the U.S. economy.  According to Fisher, the Syrian Electronic Army cost Dow’s stock market $136 billion as a result of hacking the Associated Press Twitter account, tweeting that Obama had been injured in an explosion at the White House. Anonymous, which is describe as the “modern-day trickser” Somini Sengupta describes in her article, once hacked into the calls of F.B.I agents and even breached the computer systems of the Federal Reserve and tampered data of the Emergency Communications System.  In May of this year, an individual from Anonymous, known as “AnonTaiwan” hacked into Philippine government websites by tampering with DNS servers, which interfered and delayed the Philippine election, in outrage of a Philippine coast guard killing a Taiwanese fisherman. It is predicted that Anonymous may come back this year as well, but not as a big of a threat they have been.

Hacking has been around since the 1960’s, and has taken over peoples personal information, putting it in public’s view. Not only has it affected peoples’ personal lifes, hackitivism has become an online community which acts as a voice for people, such as Anonymous and the Hong Kong Blondes, to express there support and/or, mostly, opposition against a political or economic situation.

Do you think people have the right to take part in human-flesh searches to punish people for wrong doings or something that they do not agree with?

Should hackers be punished for exploiting other people’s personal information online?

Is it ethical for people, such as Anonymous, to hack personal and classified information to exploit and challenge political/economic order?  Do you agree with the “hacker ethic”?  Why or why not?

Finally, do you think the concept of hatcktivism culture (expressing personal opinions by using digitize media and exploiting personal information) is ethical by the means of freedom of expression?

IMAGE SOURCE as well as detailed information about the different types of hackers: http://www.truthliesdeceptioncoverups.info/2013/05/hacking-classification-test-hackers-vs.html

Detailed information about blocking internet traffic: (http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2008/02/25/how-a-pakistani-isp-briefly-shut-down-youtube/)

More information of the affect of the Pakistan conflict with YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOourQtDuJY

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