Activism is constantly shifting and changing as new means to protest become available. Hacktivism is one of the more recent means of protest, where instead of physically sitting infront of a building to block entrance, activists will block access by virtally sitting infront of that building’s webpage (Mitew, 2014).
Hackers have the power to access and distribute information on a global scale. This freedom takes hackers down various paths; some may choose to abuse their power, while others may choose to use their hacking abilities to become activists – or should I say ‘hacktivists’ (Elazari, 2014; Mitew, 2014).
Hacktivists work on a system of “chaotic freedom”, (Coleman, 2012) and while individual activists may interpret their chaotic freedom differently, hacktivists are unified in their support of one another and their cyberlibertarian ideals that all information should be free.
In 2011, the Egyptian Government temporarily shut down their citizens access to the internet. While Google and Twitter stepped in to help those censored from internet access (as I discussed in a previous post), hacktivist group Telecomix also worked with the Egyptian citizens to provide alternative network services and sent instructions on how to hand make tear-gas masks (Elazari, 2014; Fein, 2012).
Notable hacktivist groups, Wikileaks and Anonymous, are also activists on a global scale. All they need is a roof and a keyboard to release private information into the public sphere, take down government and corporation systems and unite people who might have otherwise been isolated through networks (Elazari, 2014; Khatchadourian, 2010). From Wikileaks releasing information on the corruption of the Tunisia government to Anonymous recently taking down Israeli government and business websites, the power of hacktivism is undeniable.
Hacktivism is the new activism and it is a global movement that demonstrates the power of citizen action against governments and corporations. “Afterall, it is not information that wants to be free, it is us.” (Elazari, 2014).
Elazari, K (2014). Hackers: The Internet’s Immune System. TED Talks. Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/keren_elazari_hackers_the_internet_s_immune_system?language=en [Accessed: 09/10/14]
Khatchadourian, R. (2010) No Secrets: Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency, The New Yorker. Available at: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/06/07/no-secrets [Accessed: 10/10/14]
Mitew, T (2014). Digital Resistance: hacktivists, whistleblowers, #AfterSnowden (Parts 1-3). Oct 6. Youtube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaWxbF3uvik&list=UU2RaUOoqFYKBjm0JQ4gwzHQ [Accesed: 06/10/14]
Russon, M (2014). #OpSaveGaza: Anonymous Takes Down 1,000 Israeli Government and Business Websites. International Business Times. Available at:http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/opsavegaza-anonymous-takes-down-1000-israeli-government-business-websites-1457269 [Accessed 10/10/14].
TechFX (2013). (Referenced speakers: Coleman G (2012); Fein, P (2012). We are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists 2012 full movie. Youtube. Aug 23. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG0wKUipab0&feature=youtu.be [Accessed: 09/10/14]
White, G (2011). This Is The Wikileak That Sparked The Tunisian Crisis. Business Insider. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/tunisia-wikileaks-2011-1 [Accessed 10/10/14].