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:: Hacktivism ::

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MessagePosté le: Mer 23 Déc - 07:43 (2009)    Sujet du message: Hacktivism Répondre en citant

by blackhatbloc

Here we will take a look at some differences between Hacktivism and actual Hacker Activism.


Hacktivism is using hacking as a tactic for political activism. Some typical examples of

"virtual sit-in": where we all DoS an evil corporation's webpage to show them how angry we
all are! grr!

"web page defacement": where we replace a corporation's pamphlet-on-the-internet to tell
their customers how angry we are! grr!

"surveillance": reporting on secret doings of companies, governments, the police through
mastery of internet, radio scanning, dumpster diving.

"hacktivismo": where we try and circumvent access-restricting technology that evil political
and corporate regimes force on us through strong crypto, steganography, covert channel


Hacker activism is more like plain old-fashioned organizing and communication, the tools
that ammended the constitution to give women the right to vote and workers the right to
organize within the past 100 years. Hackers have the ability to organize and communicate-
they're two of our most important contributions to the world: the BBS and IRC. Two "revolutionizing"
technologies that have predictably been co-opted and patented by corporations; key components
of every 90s dotcom business plan (remember "community"?!!?!)

If hacktivism is using hacker tactics to achieve political goals, then hacker activism is
finding things you are compelled to organize around in the hacker realm. It's allowing you
or your group's hacker aesthetic (artistic vision, creative impulse, alla the cool patterns
that you have noticed and responded to in your lifetime) a greater say in your social and
political life.

Politicize the action of hacking, allowing yourself to live and hack well. A huge part of
this is expressing your aesthetic and your ethics to others, being heard, striving towards
liberty of expression.

Hacker activism is expressed through our continually evolving culture- tfiles, rm'ing each
other, dumping each others' dox... we affect each others' realities the best way we can, to
share more and more complex hacks on the fucked up models we discern in our individual
reality and attempt to communicate.

The anti-whitehat movement is attempting to sway the direction of hacker culture away from
corporate, moneyed rule... away from accepting the arbitrary illegality or moral wrongness
of hacking. Pushing the popular will from whitehat to blackhat is a worthy battle of the
hacker mind versus the corporate will to whitehat power and police states.


Hacktivism itself is not very refined- it's hard to incorporate hacking into political
activist tactics. Employing hacker tactics to achieve common activist goals often seems to
stumble over if not collide with the basic motivations of most hackers (bandwidth should be
interrupted? no, bandwidth should be reclaimed for ALL, not inhibited.)

One of the major drawbacks of hacktivism is that "civil disobedience"-style hacking tactics
typically acknowledge and accept the illegality of hacking. "Sure, this is illegal, but we
are willing to go to jail for this website defacement so that we can send a message to
Monsanto once and for all!" seems lazy thinking, a cop out, when the alternative could be
"this will never be illegal, this internet was developed and is still accessed with public
funds, we are taking it back."

Another drawback to hacktivism is that it supports lefty cliches. Terms like "virtual
sit-in" try to co-opt hacking not as a creative way of living but as a coercive tool to
achieve what an activist wants out of this world. If you treat hacking as a tool to get what
you want, even if what you want is more democratic inputs to the fucked-up capitalist
statist system, you betray the entire point of hacking in the first place. Remember why you
got into computers and hacking? Was it for the control? Or was it because you are
compelled to figure out how to subvert arbitrary realities? Should you define yourself by
your adversary? If you are an activist first and a painter second, what on earth are you
fighting for in the first place? Your activist way of life, or your painter way of life?
Same thing with hacking.


Hacktivism is sometimes code for "using hacker tactics as Activism for Personal Privacy".
Privacy is an interesting concept in the hacker world. Personal privacy might seem
sacrosanct, but is it really, on a computer? Email is not private. Intent to privacy is not
actual privacy. "Sure, I want privacy, I don't want anyone to see my passwords, but i use a
plaintext protocol like POP or a flawed implementation of SSL because that's what software I
have." Intent is subverted by the cold reality of RFCs, protocols, and the actual code.
Computers understand code, not intent. Code is always greater than intent.

Sometimes this is distorted to mean "my intent > your intent because I understand the code
better", but I think a more meaninful lesson is "no one intent is greater than any other".

And guess what, intent applies to all code. Executing arbitrary code in a buffer overflow
or exploiting a weakness in a protocol isn't breaking the law or wrong, it's fulfilling your
end of an explicit contract between the end user and a piece of code or a chip or a phone
system. It can be done because the code explicitly allows it to happen.


Hacking can guarantee your right to map your personal aesthetic into a gigantic finite state
machine, but you have to realize that no one aesthetic has legitimacy over any other. This
is a core tenet of anarchist belief. The greatest gift hacking has given to our lives is
providing a complex implementation of incorporating the illegitimization of authority into
our tangible reality. We are all masters over the arbitrariness of reality and perception,
insomuch as we accept hacking.

Douglas Rushkoff at H2K2 talked about hacking as "shedding social metaphors", hacking as
having a state of unmediated access to reality because of the technical skill involved.
Social metaphors are constructed and arbitrary, just like machine code. Biella from
healthhacker goes on to point out that hackers do not obtain priveleged access to reality
per se, but express creativity in a form of cultural consciousness that deals with the
arbitariness of "social metaphors", or realities. The key tenant then to the hacker ethic is
not accepting the legitimacy of any one reality over another. Hackers do not escape the
domain of social metaphor, they come into direct contact with it and are thus capable of
discerning "limits" and circumventing them.

Accepting arbitrariness of realities and never accepting any one reality's authority over
another is a form of empowerment that can be deeply rewarding. Hackers obtain Matrix-like
powers to effectively navigate through "the social terrain of values and metaphors" while
allowing multi-spectrum introspection into the nature of existence by not restricting us to
just our own default reality lens.

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MessagePosté le: Mer 23 Déc - 07:43 (2009)    Sujet du message: Publicité

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