Hacking + activism= hacktivism. Also known as electronic civil disobedience, this term is used to describe the practice of using cyberspace as an alternative place for protest. The primary goal of hacktivists is to express political opinions and ideologies through the internet. Issues range from corruption, human rights, freedom of information, free speech, privacy and security. Hacktivism may be conducted through legal or illegal means, but it is always disruptive. Some common hacktivist methods include website defacement, denial-of-service (making the website unavailable to users), information leakage, virtual sit-ins, etc. In the Philippines, recent hacktivist attacks are on government websites. The most common are by hacker group Philker, stating that their attacks are not intended to harm but are aimed at exposing vulnerabilities of government websites.
With the prevalent use of the internet, there is no doubt that hacktivists reach and affect a far wider audience. They also directly attack their targets where they hurt, in a faster and broader manner. With mass media reporting cases of major hacks, the point gets across no matter what.
If hacktivism is protest, should it be considered as a legitimate form of political expression? Should it be afforded protection because it is free speech? If we go into the root of it, hacktivism would still necessarily involve illegal access to the computer or the system. And while others claim no harm is actually meant, there is still an amount of damage wrought, no matter how minimal. As one writer put it, hacktivism will always go back to the question of the ends justifying the means.
Krystel Jehan M. Bautista, entry no. 6