Does Hacktivism Go Too Far?

Mask worn but protestor to remain anonymous Source:
Mask worn but protestor to remain anonymous

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:
Photo of a protest from Project Chanology Source:

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?


Hello, This Is a Little About Me

Hello, my name is Andrew Kuelbs and I am a computer science major with a focus in game design. I am currently a senior credit wise, but because I transferred to U of M Dearborn from Oakland Community College I still have about 3 semester left to finish my degree.  I grew up in Farmington Hills, but now I live in Allen Park.

Some of my favorite things to do are play and watch soccer, code, and play video games.  liverpoolI have played soccer since I was 4 years old and I am a huge supporter for Liverpool F.C. and i even have a tattoo of the quote “You’ll Never Walk Alone” on my right arm.  Liverpool plays in England, so the time difference can be quite difficult at times, but I will wake up at any hours of the morning to watch a game.  One day I hope to be able to go to Liverpool and catch a game along with going to abbey road.

Crash Bandicoot

Currently the game I am playing the most is a FPS (first person shooter) called Counter Strike: Global Offensive, but my love for video games started with Crash Bandicoot and got really big with the Halo franchise.  I enjoy playing the game with a group of friends in which we team up in a 5vs5 game.  This game does focus on aiming, but I the fact that communication is the biggest key to playing this game and winning. CSGO It proves that teamwork can beat out individual talent, but that doesn’t happen every game you play.  One of the biggest things video games does for me is it allows for me to reconnect with some of my friends who have moved away.  We can plan a night to log on and play together and we even catch up on life.  On top of playing video games, I love to spend time creating new content for games and seeing what people think about it.  This ranges from creating new skins, to make things look different, to creating new maps people can play on.  Video games are a big part of my life, and I hope to continue with them in the future by getting a job in that industry.