Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hacktivism.


Yes, such a word exists. No, l don't think Merriam Webster would put it in their dictionary just yet.

There was news about the online hacking group called Anonymous that announced their plans to kill Facebook over privacy issues. I've heard of this group before but this bold and public announcement was intriguing so I definitely had to learn more about it.

Anonymous is the famous online group of hackers/hacktivists who promote internet freedom and freedom of speech online. This is in response to recent steps taken by governments around the world, especially the U.S. Congress, to monitor Internet usage and lessen the anonymity of its users. They would like to promote Internet users to do as they wish and to not have to watch their backs every time they do something on the Internet. Several arrests of suspected members have been made around the world but no one person has achieved such notoriety in the public. Their rules are simple and membership is achievable. A possible intiation could be to disguise yourself in the internet and conceal every digital footprint that you could possibly leave. If your identity becomes public, you're out.

This group and their activities sound like they could be from the movies but such reality exists and theirs is a subculture embedded in absolute secrecy and advanced technology. The ordinary folk are not bothered until they experience a hack in the online world. The problems that they cause affect numerous websites, and this would include their owners such as companies and all end users. Anarchy is not the main goal but attention is and their attacks are getting bolder as time goes by.

The activities of their members will only be punishable if there is a law in their country defining it as such. However, conflicts of law, national security and territoriality are they key issues that governments and legislators will have to deal with if they want to regulate such cyber crimes. There are novel constitutional issues at play here such as the right to freedom of speech or privacy in the cyber world. The actions of the hacktivists, governments and users are in a state of flux and there is not much black letter law or jurisprudence in our country to deal with such problems. Again, legislation is lagging and we can't do much about it until a significant event springs people into action. Let's see what happens on November 5 and maybe some people in our country will take notice.

Entry #8

No comments: