Activism of the Cyber Kind

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.

Image sourced from HATE-LOVE-FEAR-ANGER, DeviantArt

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).

Instructions on making tear-gas masks. Sourced from Occupied, 2011.

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).

 

References:

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].

 

 

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About intersectionalalien

Hi hello people of earth/space/cyberspace, intersectional alien here. I’m still trying to figure out my place on this earth. I like intersectional feminism, feminism in popular culture, LGBTQ+, refugee rights, veganism, mental health, nihilism, travelling, unlearning institutional conditioning, good tunes and consuming and creating stories.
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10 Responses to Activism of the Cyber Kind

  1. ml079 says:

    Great example of this weeks topic. Excellent use of references and links also. I really liked the inclusion of the tear-gas mask diagram to illustrate the point of successful alternative network services. I agree that Hactivism is the new activism – as such in the 2012 Russian elections
    http://www.securityweek.com/political-activism-gives-way-hacktivism-russia

  2. rosahall says:

    Hey there, I really enjoyed reading your post. It was clear, flowed really well and was easy to read. I too agree that Hacktivism is the new activism but only to a certain extent. As powerful as social media and internet has become towards protests and rallies, physical demonstrations have always been a powerful way to wake up governments and different organisations. Keep up the good work!

  3. April says:

    It was really interesting that the hacktivists making their own masks in Egypt. I didn’t know that there’d be another mask which to protect the anonymous from revealing faces besides the Guy Fawkes’s. I was always wondering why this mask is so famous that you are able to see people wearing this in a group when I was young. I actually looked up and realized that they are reasons behind the mask and found that it is not least of all because of the opaque nature of this version of civil disobedience but also because of the “V for Vendetta” film which owned by Warner Brothers. Read this out and you’ll find more interesting stuff about the mask. http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-is-behind-the-anonymous-mask-can-the-million-mask-march-turn-a-vendetta-into-a-victory/5357476

  4. zactmccall says:

    Nice post. You presented a clear and concise view on the weeks topics and was an easy read. The Egyptian example definitely supports your writing and shows the power social media and hacktivists can have in today’s society. Great use of links and media as well, making the most of the platform which will always get good marks from me. Thanks!

  5. This is a very interesting blog post, I particularly liked your diagram in “How to Make A Tear Gas Mask” when talking about the protests and riots in Egypt. Its amazing how information is shared throughout the cyberspace so quickly and efficiently. Your post displays the power of #hacktivism especially in regards to social media platforms, in which all societies and cultures in the world are utilising for different purposes and probably still will in the not too distant future.

  6. Lauren says:

    I love your use of the term ‘chaotic freedom’. I think this perfectly encapsulates the idea of hacktivism – is it right, is it wrong? It’s all down to personal opinion – well, in my opinion anyway. Great inclusion of visual aids in this post.

    I’d love to hear about your personal opinion of the matter – do you believe hacktivism can be justified, and why/why not?

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