Hacktivism and Cyberwars: Rebels with a Cause?

Hacktivism and Cyberwars: Rebels with a Cause?

Hacktivism and Cyberwars: Rebels with a Cause?

Hacktivism and Cyberwars: Rebels with a Cause?

Synopsis

As global society becomes more and more dependent, politically and economically on the flow of information, the power of those who can disrupt and manipulate that flow also increases. In Hacktivism and Cyberwars: Rebels with a Cause? Tim Jordan and Paul Taylor provide a detailed history of hacktivism's evolution from early hacking culture to its present day status as the radical face of online politics. They describe the ways in which hacktivism has re-appropriated hacking techniques to create an innovative new form of political protest. A full explanation is given of the different strands of hacktivism and the 'cyberwars' it has created, ranging from such avant garde groups as the Electronic Disturbance Theatre to more virtually focused groups labelled 'the digitally correct'. The full social and historical context of hacktivism is portrayed to take into account its position in terms of new social movements, direct action and its contribution to the globalization debate. This book provides an important corrective flip-side to mainstream accounts of E-commerce and broadens the conceptualization of the internet to take into full account the other side of the digital divide.

Excerpt

The existence of popular political protest is a mark of all communities; whether it is manifested in spectacular street demonstrations or greytinged meetings of local associations. The self-activity of people marks their desire to affect, even control, the spaces and times they live in, even if that means attempting to do so within conditions of no one's choosing. This desire and its always attendant restrictions have become manifest in the spaces and times of virtual lives, both in actions to control cyberspace and actions to affect offline life through cyberspace.

Hacktivism is the emergence of popular political action, of the selfactivity of groups of people, in cyberspace. It is a combination of grassroots political protest with computer hacking. Hacktivists operate within the fabric of cyberspace, struggling over what is technologically possible in virtual lives, and reaches out of cyberspace utilising virtual powers to mould offline life. Social movements and popular protest are integral parts of twenty-first-century societies. Hacktivism is activism gone electronic.

While movements to defend cyberspace have existed for some time (Jordan 1999b), the emergence of popular protest within cyberspace - whether about cyberspace or using cyberspace - has not. It is the emergence of virtual direct actions that this book is concerned with. Hacktivism does not mean any politics associated with cyberspace, in which case all politics would be hacktivist as there are very few areas of social and cultural conflict that currently do not touch virtuality in some form or other. Rather, emerging at the end of the twentieth century, hacktivism is a specific social and cultural phenomenon, in which the popular politics of direct action has been translated into virtual realms.

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