Does Hacktivism Go Too Far?

Mask worn but protestor to remain anonymous Source: http://ebloguri.ro/tag/hacktivism/
Mask worn but protestor to remain anonymous
Source: http://ebloguri.ro/tag/hacktivism/

A hacktivist is defined as a computer hacker whose activity is aimed at promoting a social or political cause.  So a hacktivist is simply a hacker whose goal is to bring light to a social or political issue.  When a hacktivist decides to act out and get attention brought to a certain subject, it shows that this person feels the need for this information to be out in the public.  The problem with these actions is the hacktivist doesn’t look at the other side of it all and doesn’t look at who this could hurt.  When a hacktivist decides to release information in which they had gather through hacking, no matter what right they feel they are doing by getting this information out there, this release of information can have bad implications.

In the article WikiLeaks and Hacktivist Culture, it talk about one of the most known cases of hacktivism which was formally named Project Chanology. I won’t go into all of the detail of Project Chanology, but there is information you can take from this that people need to see.  When an attack from a hacktivist happens and attention is brought upon a group, the group in which the attention is brought upon, in this case the Church of Scientology, can act in a way in which other people will see negatively and ultimately hurt themselves by responding in the way they did, which is a direct harm for the intended target.  The backlash from this is, what happens to all the people who believed in or supported what they felt was right.  In this case, what happened to all the people who believed in Scientology? With the battle between the two catching the headlines on newspapers and television, people were beginning to see the darker sides of how people can act.  Because of seeing these issues going on, people will gain their own opinions, and people who supported Scientology could be looked upon differently because of how the church was acting.  So an innocent person can be hurt by the actions of a hacktivist, even when they weren’t the intended target.  So when you look at hacktivism, the intended target is not the only one who gets harmed; innocent people who were in the way got hurt as well.

Photo of a protest from Project Chanology Source: http://www.lisamcpherson.org/pc.htm
Photo of a protest from Project Chanology Source: http://www.lisamcpherson.org/pc.htm

If you look at hacktivism in an ethical manner, you can see that there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed.  The definition of ethics is moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.  So if you combine hacktivism and ethics, it will result in a hack to make a statement in which the hacker or hacktivist will act due to how they feel about a certain topic.  The tricky part with this is, you can decide how one person feels and how they will act, and because of this, you get radical statements and big statements throughout the world.  A person will fully stand behind what they believe, and some people will stop at nothing to show how they feel.  In the article The rights and wrongs of hacktivism, the author says “moral footing for peaceful lawbreaking must be an individual’s readiness to take the consequences.”  That statement there says it completely, one person who acts upon ethical hacktivism must be will to take the consequences if their actions go too far.

There will still be time in which people go too far with their actions.  At this point, we must be able to realize this and take a stand against ethical hacktivism.  Do you think the movements and acts of a hacktivist are correct? Do you think anyone gets hurt by hacktivism, and if so, who? And finally, do you feel that we should make sure there is an ethical border in which hacktivism does not cross?

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50 thoughts on “Does Hacktivism Go Too Far?

  1. mvzang April 2, 2015 / 4:38 am

    Hello. Hacktivism has the potential to easily go too far in my opinion. I agree there are many corporations and religious entities that are doing things that aren’t totally legit, but for a group of people seeking revenge anonymously via a computer, to me, is cowardly. Using the internet to blog your opinion or to gather the masses to support your cause is completely fine with me. Raising awareness to a problem can be more than half the battle. The problem is these hactivist groups are seeking revenge, and the easiest way to get it is going after they’re bottom line, but that has a plethora of unintended consequences.

    There are many innocent people that work for these companies that hactivist groups go after, and if one were to look down the road, the real hurt trickles down and takes money out of their employee’s pockets. In our great nation we have laws and rules set in place to protect us from illegal acts by companies, but we also have laws against sabotaging groups or businesses just because we don’t agree with their practices. So if we want to set the ethical border at don’t do anything illegal, I think that’s a good start.

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    • akuelbs April 5, 2015 / 12:08 pm

      I agree with what you have said, just the problem with the ethical border being set at don’t do anything illegal, well then that would be to eliminate hacktivism all together. Hacking is an illegal offense, so if we say that we should put an ethical border stopping illegal activity, then we should just make a law against hacktivism. Plus another thing i would like to comment on is you claim that someone is being “cowardly” when they hide behind a computer. Nowadays with the world we live in, people like their technology and enjoy a sense of anonymity. It makes them feel safe in a sense. I know that at time people will go too far with being anonymous because they feel invincible, but what would you have them do? If i’m a computer genius and i hack a company, i’m not just going to say who i am so the government can come right after me.

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  2. Brandon Coulter April 2, 2015 / 2:17 pm

    If a company or big corporation that engages in activities that I find wrong or unethical refuses to accept any physical confrontational attitudes towards their work and beliefs, the only remaining way to combat the negativity is through technological backlash. To hide behind a computer and state your opposing opinion when you have the full capability of head-on confrontation and possibly changing the issue at hand is one thing. To not be given the time of day for your opinion and to be forced away from the issue is another, and in these cases it seems that digital hacktivism serves as the most appropriate form of protest. The seemingly invincible money-making corporations can only be harmed when attacked from the inside. Basically, when given the opportunity to crawl through the sewers and emerge from the center of the city rather than attacking the impenetrable castle walls, the smart attackers will choose to destroy from the inside-out. Hacktivist groups such as Anonymous choose this method of espionage in order to attack undetected, a sure way of dealing the most intended damage while also uncovering as much hidden data and information as possible. This is a necessary strategy for combating against groups that are committing blatant wrongs to society by disallowing them from gaining any edge within the physical world. It is inevitable that individuals will be harmed along the way, both innocent and guilty. The bigger picture is the amount of greater good that is achieved as a result of the activism, a pro that must be weighed heavily against the cons that are created.

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    • akuelbs April 5, 2015 / 10:48 pm

      What your are saying is that it is acceptable to sacrifice the lives of some for the greater good. I have no real problem with that thinking at all, but i think it would be better directed to the opposition and not just innocent bystanders. I feel that you can oppose a company that is doing something wrong and show others what they are doing is wrong and use them as an example of what can happen. What i don’t agree with is harming innocent people to prove a point, someone who can’t even protect themselves from any harm.

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  3. Carly Hernandez April 2, 2015 / 6:56 pm

    Hacktivists believe that all information should be free, especially political and ethical information. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that what they do is a good thing. People’s lives are at risk when you expose something they did, say or have information on. The hackers expose things that we don’t know but they are the ones that get to hide behind the computer screen and let everyone else deal with the aftermath. Hackers are especially attracted to exposing people of authority which can ruin their lives and their career. If information is kept secret it is kept secret for a reason. I understand what the hacktivists are trying to accomplish and prove a point, but to where is the line that is crossed in going too far? Or was that line crossed the moment they hacked into someone’s information? Like you said, not only is the person being attacked going to be put in harm’s way but innocent people as well. It should benefit the people, not harm them. Groups like Anonymous have been seen in the news recently with the Ferguson riots and threatening Israel. Threats from the hacktivists are also a big part of what they do in order to scare and deter the person/persons from continuing with what they are doing. This gives them power in a way, which I think is the complete opposite of what their main goal is of not letting one group or person have all the power. They are turning into something that they didn’t want to be or not abiding by what they stand for and their purpose.

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    • eakoonter April 5, 2015 / 4:09 pm

      Carly, I agree. Big groups of hackers like to expose political people and corporations. I can’t say they’re wrong for doing so. Why should stuff that our government says be hidden from us? I do, however, agree that this can risk their lives as many people are not stable minded and tend to threaten opposition. There is definitely lines that hackers shouldn’t cross like exposing people out in the open, but when the government is secretly hacking our phone lines or planning something that we didn’t vote on…then I think we deserve the right to know. So, where is that line? Where do we put it? Well, that’s tough. Who do we trust more is the real question.

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    • akuelbs April 5, 2015 / 10:58 pm

      I have to say that i completely agree with your thinking of the matter. Anonymous has threatened to even take on a drug cartel, which could bring a huge and ugly fight to the forefront if that were ever to happen. It’s just scary if you think about how much power an anonymous person and group are gaining on the internet. No one really knows what their intentions are, or what they are will to do next. I just hope that with this rise of power and publicity, Anonymous doesn’t end up similar to Adolf Hitler, believe in all this power and that no one can stop them.

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  4. nebior April 3, 2015 / 1:54 pm

    I disagree with your point about hacktivists now thinking about the other side. I think they know exactly how much damage their work can bring about and that is exactly why they do it. If there is some information in the world that could harm me then I would want to know it so I could deal with it. If things remained covered up and these people never hear certain truths and certain things aren’t exposed then people will be blind but happy. I have always felt that I would rather know the truth and be unhappy than to be happy living a lie. I do not feel that, even if we could, we should put up borders on hactivism. The entire point of hactivism is to break down borders in order to reveal secrets that aren’t supposed to be shown to the public. If someone is doing something that they don’t want the public knowing then shouldn’t the public know it? I feel the only exception is leaking something that could bring harm to many people (direct physical harm). Nobody should go about leaking the White House blueprints and defense system layout or reveal our military’s plans thus getting many people hurt. If someone in a major company is stealing millions then yes, that should be exposed. I guess I am saying that there is a line, but not much crosses it.

    –Ben Walker

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    • akuelbs April 5, 2015 / 11:07 pm

      I find myself agreeing with the fact that i would rather know information that could harm me instead of not knowing. When it comes to hacktivists, the main person might not fully understand the extent of what they have uncovered. The code of hacktivists is to share all the information they find and not keep anything hidden. What happens when they uncover the named of uncover agents and puts their lives at right. I feel there should be a border that doesn’t just protect us from the possibility of a huge issue, but on that will also protect sensitive and controversial issues which could have implications worldwide.

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  5. rmpaulk April 3, 2015 / 2:49 pm

    I am extremely mixed minded on this subject. I understand both points of view of how hacktivism could be bad, and how it could be good. However, I am leaning more towards it being a good thing. Being a Communications major on the journalism track, I have always been told that the truth needs to be heard. It is my duty as a journalist to make sure that the truth always comes to light, and that people are not left in the dark. I believe in transparency, because secrets bring you nothing but trouble. I understand that people can get hurt by this, but if it helps the greater good it’s worth it. I believe it hurts the people involved with the organization, group or company being hacked whether they are innocent or not. It effects what they initially believed or thought, it changes their view on the organization (group or company), and it effects the way they feel about themselves. It also causes outsiders to have some sort of opinion on them. In terms of trying to make sure there is some line that they don’t cross, I think it’s impossible. They are hackers. They may be doing something good, but they are still going about it illegally. I don’t think there are any kind of lines or rules that you can set up for them. They will just ignore them. They are risking going to jail and prison. I don’t think they will make a second guess about crossing an ethical line.

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    • galaradi April 5, 2015 / 3:17 pm

      I agree with you, that as journalists we need to make sure the truth is out there. Secrets do bring nothing but trouble.

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    • akuelbs April 5, 2015 / 11:11 pm

      When i look at the border in that respect i have to agree with you. A hacker enjoys testing and infiltrating boundaries. If we put up a border on ethical hacktivism, it is not a border to keep them out, it will be more of a invitation to try to cross it. It’s like we will be taunting them if we try to put limits on what they should or shouldn’t do.

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  6. adrianhormsby April 4, 2015 / 8:09 am

    Is there an ethical border that hackers should not cross? Very good question, one that requires considerable reflection. As one who formally studies Graffiti and it’s wrtiers in Detroit over the last 4 years of my Masters program, I am often confronted with the ethical dilemma of Graffiti art, yes it’s clearly illegal, yes it defaces public places and property, yes it costs money to remove, yes a lot of people get upset about it, but clearly it get’s a reaction and persists despite extensive efforts by the city and authorities to get rid of it. Interesting enough, Graff writers have rules of behavior in relation to what and where they Graff, you might call it their own ethical code of conduct. They don’t graff (or the word they use is “bomb”, an interesting usage of the word) churches, funeral homes, actively used schools or people’s homes that they know are owned and lived in by local residents. Everything else is fair game. If you look at Graff closely their is a plethora of relevant and highly significant social and cultural messages addressing all the problems of black Detroit. From gun violence and drugs to homelessness and police brutality. So back to your question, what is the ethical border that shouldn’t be crossed? Well it probably depends on your point of view. Think for a second why hackers or Graff artists do what they do, it’s because there’s major hypocrisy on the part of corporation and/or authorities who wax strong and bleat about their high moral ground yet dump on the lowest and most vulnerable members of the society that they claim they are serving. It’s an age old problem that goes as far back as the Roman’s writing subversive messages against the Emperor on Roman street walls. So as long as the hypocrisy persists, and it does and will, the Graff writers and hackers will continue to do what they do. From their point of view, it’s totally ethical. To them it’s just like an MLK march in Washington D.C. It’s best summed up in the words of one Detroit’s local Graff writers at a Graff Symposium at UMD last year “How can anyone get rid of something so beautiful!!!”. Now that’s something to think about.

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    • akuelbs April 5, 2015 / 11:21 pm

      Ethical borders on hacktivism is a tricky topic because everyone has their own ethic in which they feel and believe in. I don’t think there is a real way to stop or limit a group of hacktivist. What i do feel is that they should have set guidelines to follow. For instance, hacktivist should avoid putting out information that could be large groups of people at harm or risk, and that they should stay away from topics or issues that could cause issues worldwide. But who really knows, i don’t believe that any of us are in hacktivist groups, and they actually might have guidelines in which they do follow, just they aren’t know to the public.

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  7. cseejay April 5, 2015 / 12:10 am

    I personally find that the flip side to Hacktivism usually involves individuals doing something their not supposed to be doing. I understand that every country has spies and information they don’t want revealed to the public. I’m not sure how much I agree with this notion that because private documents are leaked or something secret is revealed, there is some negative implication as a result. I think in most recent cases the movements and acts of hacktivist are correct, to a certain degree. I’m personally on both sides of the coin, considering I understand governments need to keep certain things from the public and there also needs to be more transparency on their side of this. Out of the last major hacks over the past 2-3 years, I think we’ve learned a great deal about how people in positions of power act and treat the general public. In many cases, officials, executives, and agents all tend to say one thing to the public (what sounds good) and do the complete opposite behind closed doors. A lot of information gathered from hacked documents has shinned a light on what most of the public suspected for along time, but there was no proof to back it up (Sony hacks). There clearly needs to be an ethical border that that hacktivism needs to have, but I’d say so far nothing has been to drastically over the top that we need to spend and huge amount of time establishing one. I’d say around 80% of the time I tend to agree with hackers and their reasoning behind leaking documents they do. The other 20% is for the hackers that like to steal credit cards information, and shut down sites responsible for my main source of entertainment (XBL and PSN). Although, it does help companies build more secure forms of security. I guess in the long run it does benefit everyone.

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    • akuelbs April 5, 2015 / 11:28 pm

      There is a difference though, the people who hack to expose knowledge and issues for people to see are hacktivist. But in the circumstances of the 20% you talk about, those people are just hackers who hack for themselves and not the acts of hacktivist.

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  8. Ms.McCollum April 5, 2015 / 11:41 am

    If it is on a Robin Hood type of level then sure it is fine. Look at the people who are doing all they can with ISIS. Who else can dig deep enough though technology to try to help? Now, if it was being done maliciously then it a problem, but I also think that things such as government secrets should remain secrets.
    Who gets hurt: It could be anyone. It could impact government, maybe the person who is the target, or the hackers themselves.
    I think that with such a debatable topic there should be some clarifications as to what is and is not acceptable. It is a bit like fair use. In some cases it is okay, other it is not.

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    • akuelbs April 5, 2015 / 11:34 pm

      when you say that government secrets should stay a secret, that kind of eliminates the point of a hacktivist. Hacktivist want people to be able to see what is going on behind the scenes in which we dont see. So i fully support the hacktivist exposing government secrets because we all have the right to know what is going on in our country. But we also know that that is never the case, and there will always be secrets kept from us.

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  9. lewenzel93 April 5, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    Hacktivist movements, in theory, sound like a pretty good idea. They seem to have the right intentions by bringing light to certain issues that the public deserves to know about. However, intentions might be irrelevant when it comes to legitimate after effects. As you said, hacktivism might not always look at the other side of things or at long term consequences. Exposing some kind of scandal might indirectly and negatively affect those who are involuntarily involved. For example, if some news exposed a judge to be misusing state funds and said judge was fired from his position, his children will suffer the consequences of having a parent without a job. But this scenario, and others like it, would call to the issue of mercy versus justice and that’s an entirely different conversation. I don’t think there is any way to make sure there is some kind of moral line hacktivism doesn’t cross. There will always be people trying to expose the truth, even if it is scandalous and harmful.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 12:28 am

      That scenario would definitely call in to action about why the judge was doing what he was and risking his family if he was caught. The more and more i think about it, there should be borders or guidelines in which hacktivist should follow, but we cant set them for them. Hacktivist have to have their own code and they have to set the guidelines. If we set the guidelines they will see this as a test to try and get by or through it, and not actually as something in which they need to follow.

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  10. sneff16 April 5, 2015 / 2:13 pm

    I think that hacktivism can be both positive and negative. In some cases, hacktivists are able to expose the wrongdoings of large corporations and society becomes a better place because of it. However, there are many cases when hacktivism goes wrong. The idea behind hacktivists is to expose the truth, but sometimes the truth hurts. Not only can it hurt individuals but it can also be damaging to a country as well. We all have secrets. Imagine if someone was hacking into your brain and exposing all of your secrets for the world to see. It would not only be embarrassing, but it could also destroy relationships. I think hacktivists need to think about what is the greater good before deciding to go Robin Hood on people.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 12:46 am

      Thats just it, a hacktivist believes what they are doing is for the greater good. They have ethic beliefs that people deserve to know what is going on. That is why they do what they do, because they believe they are in fact doing the right thing for everyone.

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  11. galaradi April 5, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    Hacktivist groups like Anonymous have intentions of bringing the truth to the headlines and showing people the secrets and scandals these corporations have. I don’t agree that we should take a stand against hacktivism. I believe we have a right to be aware of what’s happening behind the scenes of politics and power. Do I think their actions are correct? I’m still not sure myself. I agree that the truth needs to come out to the public, and any secret is hidden for a reason. It’s hidden because it could be illegal, wrong, or an abuse of power. Do we have the right to know these things? Yes, I believe we do.

    I believe the people who get hurt by hacktivism are the people involved with the corporation. That is the consequence of change, people will always be in the way and get hurt. People get hurt in wars, but they happen anyways. When something hidden is exposed, I think it is for the greater good of the people, and the positives outweigh the negatives. These are people who are actually making a difference by exposing those in power, and taking corporations from the inside out.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 12:51 am

      I don’t agree with what you are saying about the people involved with the corporations deserving to get hurt for being involved with the corporation. What about the people who are getting harmed indirectly, and had no knowledge of what was going on? It’s like your war analysis, many people lost their homes from the war and they couldn’t do a thing about it. Is this okay to happen?

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  12. jaemillz411 April 5, 2015 / 5:05 pm

    I think in theory hacktivism is a great idea. I mean it is a dream of many to wear that mask and fight the good fight for the everyday people. Being a vigilante is like being Batman, but the question is are they suited for the job? But with every idea there will come a time when it has to be applied to real life. I believe that hacktivism does even the playing field for the public when we are up against big corporations with large wallets and a vast network of connections on their side. I think hacktivism should be used as when necessary.

    When the law seems to benefit the corporations instead of the public hacktivism should be used as insurance. With any activism, digital or otherwise, there will always be a possibility of collateral damage. Rather that damage be lives lost, imprisonment, other punishments activism is a risky business that should not be entered into lightly. Activism could be dangerous for the hackers, the public, and any other party involved.

    But my belief is that anything worth living for should be worth dying for as well. And finally I do think that there should be some form of and ethical board or agreed upon rules to follow for hacktivism, because nothing in this world is just black or white. And if you are going to navigate in the sea of grey, there should be fixed ethics and/or loyalties to abide by in order to keep peoples’ objectives clear.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 12:56 am

      The problem that we run into is people will bring upon hacktivism when they personally feel it is necessary. Well no two people have exactly the same beliefs. So if we have a bunch of people who feel different knowledge about different topics is necessary, how can we limit what is necessary and what isn’t?

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  13. spgregor April 5, 2015 / 7:30 pm

    I do believe hacktivism can go too far and therefore I have mixed feelings on the subject. If the purpose is to expose some unethical or illegal wrongdoing then I don’t have a problem with hacktivism. It seems too many large corporations are doing underhanded things and the public deserves to know about it. However, if the purpose is a vengeful one strictly bent on revenge then I don’t support it. Often when seeking revenge things tend to get out of hand and lines are crossed.

    Does hacktivism hurt anyone? Sure, and here again is where my mixed feelings lie. If those getting hurt are the ones doing the illegal or unethical things that are being exposed that is one of the consequences they face. If someone working for that corporation is also affected, I feel for them but again that is a consequence of working for a company doing things they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, we see more and more of this occurring today. On the other hand, I can’t condone someone getting hurt purely for revengeful reasons. Revenge is very personal and can quickly lead to unintended consequences.

    Should we make sure an ethical border is not crossed when referring to hacktivism? My question is who would set this ethical border and what would it look like? My concern would be that it would restrict some of our rights in the name of protecting those it shouldn’t.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 12:59 am

      If we try to restrict a group of hacker who are already committing an illegal act, its just asking them to go even further into doing more illegal actions. The people are already hacking into information that they shouldn’t be seeing and gaining access to places they shouldn’t. If we try to say you can’t do that, its like taunting them into proving us even more wrong. The way to set a border is tricky and i ultimately feel that hacktivist alone should set the border and not us as people.

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  14. asibo April 5, 2015 / 8:41 pm

    One of the very unique things about hacktivism, at least as far as Anonymous goes, is there seems to be no real moral ethics guiding their actions and hacktivism. In this way, Anonymous seems to be more neutral and less capable of any real public harm, than if they were a serious digital vigilante army. Since Anonymous carries out operations for “lulz” and not any real sense political and personal purpose, it acts as a check against anything that can truly be considered personally harmful to anyone remotely innocent. Project Chanology in this sense is as much absurd as it is purposeful, and the true byproduct of that form of hacktivism is largely benign. As Quinn Norton’s analogy of the trickster makes clear, the “trickster isn’t the good guy or the bad guy, it’s the character that exposes contradictions, initiates change and moves the plot forward.”

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 1:03 am

      When someone feels that they have a great sense of influence or power, they can get a little carried away. In recent times, Anonymous has threatened to challenge a Mexican drug cartel. That there could turn into real harm for the public. What drove Anonymous to potentially do this? I believe it has been Anonymous seeing all the backing from people and publicity from their actions. When someone feel power or influence is when they can be the most dangerous to those around them.

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  15. seananthony3 April 5, 2015 / 8:59 pm

    Hacktivists can be considered the modern superhero, in a way. Plenty of them believe in their cause and will get the truth out there, but there will be slipups and someone that didn’t deserve the publicity will have their information leaked. Like superheroes (the well written ones), they can often be questioned as to whether or not they are crossing the line with their acts of “heroism.”

    The most interesting thing about hacktivists is that they usually fall under the name “anonymous.” This is not just the secret identity of the “superhero,” but the same secret identity for every superhero involved.

    Of course, like anonymous, not every “superhero” is considered good, either.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 1:07 am

      People will always believe in their anonymity, but when youre anonymity grows too strong within yourself, that is when you can be at most harm or risk to both yourself and others. Anonymous has gained such a backing, that people all over the country will look at their words and follow without hesitation because they believe in what Anonymous is saying, and they feel they are making a difference with their actions.

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  16. mwiedmeyer April 5, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    I think hacktivism is ultimately harmful. Working through illegal channels could give a just cause a bad reputation, especially with everything that can go wrong with hacktivism. I’ve seen a few examples of doxxing which gave information for the wrong people, like when the Mike Brown shooting happened, the hacking group Anonymous released the wrong name for the police officer who shot him. That’s not helping the cause, that’s making them look unprofessional and petty.
    Hackers hide behind anonymity and claim they’re working for a cause, and while I can partially agree with that, I think a lot of times they’re looking for fame. There are ways to do the work that a group like Anonymous does that don’t involved publicizing your own name/brand, and I think when they get involved, some of the attention is drawn away from what ultimately matters, which is justice.

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    • bjuhasz10 April 5, 2015 / 9:55 pm

      I agree, hacktivism is usually harmful in most cases. The Brown shooting you mention is the first thing I thought of when thinking of cases where hacktivism went wrong. In the end, it is just too dangerous to be hacking, no matter the cause. Personal information and other important data can be put at risk, and therefore individuals can be put at risk.

      In the end, I don’t think justifying hacktivism with the thought that “we are trying to help or support a political or social cause” is right. There are better ways to get the message across than dangerous acts like hacking. In fact, often with hacktivism, the hackers are forcing their information or ideas onto others, who don’t necessarily want to see it or be a part of it. Thus, I think hacktivists need to think of better alternatives to get their message across, because some of the actions they have taken in recent history has had much negativity.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 1:24 am

      How can someone do it for the fame when they decide to remain anonymous?

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  17. bubbastinx April 5, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    I’m down with good parts of hacktivism. I think that it does more harm them good.

    What about the Dark Side?

    Well there is a dark side to everything.

    Many of you remain quiet to many injustices in this country, and around the world. Why?

    Because you love your twinkles, starbucks, and cheap food. So, you keep your mouth shut about all the dark stuff that goes on.

    I fell the same way about hacktivism.

    You have to take the bitter with the sweet.

    And, more importantly you have to keep up with times. Technology is here to stay.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 1:27 am

      Is it okay for the bad to be peoples lives being changed and damaged from others peoples actions? If you believe we need to accept the dark stuff, then this would be acceptable. Would you want information to get out that damages you in some way and you just see other people saying, well it happens and just brush you off like it doesn’t matter.

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  18. elrader2015 April 5, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    Hacktivism is an issue that I see can be a totally legitimate thing, but is taken too far in many cases. On the one hand, I agree with political hacktivists that want to expose things that the government is hiding from us because I’ve always personally thought that they hide too much and that we, as the constituents, deserve to know the truth. What I do not agree with is the level to which it is taken. Often times, I think that hacktivists know precisely what they are doing and they don’t care about the destruction they cause. Certain information can make people extremely angry and lead them to do crazy things. Due to this there should be a level of caution taken by hacktivists. If they could put someone’s life at risk or do severe damage to a person’s life, this should be taken into account. The issue is, many hacktivists are radicals who don’t really care what their damage is. Additionally, while I think that there should be consequences when things are taken too far, this is a slippery slope. After all, in a country that has one of it’s founding principles as freedom of speech, at what point do we take someone’s right away for going too far? Would this create further public outrage? And moreover, when these people are professional hackers, how can we identify them? If these people want to truly remain anonymous from behind a computer screen, odds are they can figure out how to do that and in addition to that, aren’t there higher grade criminals that the government should be spending money on catching?

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 1:45 am

      But wouldn’t you want to catch someone who has the potential to expose a lot of information about you. The problem with hacktivist is we don’t know the potential harm they can cause. Exposing secrets is something the government doesn’t want to happen, so hacktivist can in turn be their main target.

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  19. doniecew April 5, 2015 / 10:09 pm

    I do think that in today’s society hactivism effects everyone because you never know who’s account or information is being taken over. Today everyone is participating in online activity, whether it be social media or online shopping, so everyone is effected. There are so many people that are afraid to use social media && online banking because of hacctivism

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 1:50 am

      i also feel people are afraid to use these things because they don’t trust them, or they dont have knowledge of them.

      Like

  20. hessaj April 5, 2015 / 10:46 pm

    Exposing social problems that actually affect us, the people, then yes. But if it’s individually targeting person or group of people, just out of spite, personal reasons or whatever, then no it shouldn’t. It’s hard to tell whether we think something will benefit mankind. This hacktivism has a sort of power to it, and it’s one of those cases where that power shouldn’t go to your head, if you truly think if exposing a certain but of information is for the better. The ethical border that which divides right and wrong all comes down to either personal gain, or selflessness, if that’s even a thing, but that’s how I see it. In the end, it seems like someone is benefitting.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 1:54 am

      Hacktivist act because they feel deserve to know information that is being kept from them. If that is their motives for doing what they do, then im all for it. If it’s person reasons, then i don’t believe that is right then

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  21. thegradytrain April 5, 2015 / 10:54 pm

    Sometimes I like to think of hacktivism as virtual vigilantism, kind of like Charles Bronson with a laptop. Hacktivism sometimes crosses legal and ethical boundaries, but it brings about a certain kind of justice. Sometimes the consequences are warranted while other times it can be bring about backlash towards hackers and hacktivists. Like with vigilantism in general, it is both good and bad, and also both correct and incorrect. I think the true value of hacktivism lies in the end result or consequences i.e. who gets hurt, who benefits, and what happens next. I think with every hack conducted by hacktivist group like Anonymous, there is someone being hurt, often times its the people that the hack is being conducted on. In the past, these people included groups like Scientology groups, Westboro Baptists, and even the US Government. While some would argue that some of these hacks were somewhat justified, there were still some that were hurt or experienced a loss of some sort. I think in terms of borders for hacktivism, there should be at least be some that prevent and protect people. Obviously illegal hacktivism is still wrong, and it is regulated as much as possible by the respective enforcement agencies. Even so, there are some ethical boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed in order to prevent harm to those that are innocent.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 1:58 am

      An ethical border will always be tricky because people feel and believe in different ways. Protecting the people is the motives in which hacktivist believe in, but at times they do cross that line. There is a fine line between what is just right and what is too much. But i still agree that creating this line should protect innocent people.

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  22. blcarr April 5, 2015 / 11:01 pm

    Im for and against hacktivists after thinking whats been going on in the world lately. Hackers know exactly what they are doing and how much damage they are causing. We say we want to know any and everything about information that can be harmful to us or others but do we really? We say we want to know all the secrets but once we find them out, we are unhappy and paranoid. For instance, when I was younger we had something called SARS then it was anthrax then it was the ebola crisis. I think the government does these things to keep us on notice. “Anytime we want, we can destroy the whole world!” We get all paranoid and start freaking out, scrambling for these mythical cures and then all of a sudden, these items are never heard of again. According to Google, Hactivism- “is the act of hacking, or breaking into a computer system, for a politically or socially motivated purpose. The individual who performs an act of hacktivism is said to be a hacktivist. Why are we doing things secretly? Nothing is a secret. Once we hit search, our items get logged into a database and kept for later use. These secrets are not unplanned leaks, they are leaked on purpose to make people aware be it a kardashian or white house documents. Its all planned and is released for a purpose. On a lighter note, what about during Christmas time when the hackers shut down playstation network and xbox live so gamers would have to spend more time with their families? That was totally bogus. Im still mad about that.

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    • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 2:02 am

      the act of shutting down PSN and XBL wasn’t that of a hacktivist at all. There was no political or socially motivated purpose to that. That was just a group of people who thought it would be funny to do and force people off these things. I don’t believe that this was at all the act of hacktivist.

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      • blcarr April 6, 2015 / 7:57 am

        Do you know why the “lizard squad” hackers did what they did in December of 2014? Do you know what their motivation was? Sending bomb threats to Sony! Threatening to shutdown Xbox live forever! Shutting down networks so people will have no choice but to spend more time with their families during the holiday season? You don’t think the group lizard squad are hacktivist?

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      • akuelbs April 6, 2015 / 10:36 am

        I would like to know what politically motivated reason they had for shutting down the networks? And why would a group of hacktivist rather be called cyber terrorist?

        Like

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