Re: WildWeb article (21/9/99)

From Chuck0 <>
Date Thu, 23 Sep 1999 15:48:28 -0400
References <>

[: hacktivism :]

Ack! More crap journalism. Somebody must have fed this person a line
about EDT. Don't believe the hype!

I find the work being done by to be more inspiring and
effective than the liberalism of EDT.


Grugnog wrote:
> [: hacktivism :]
> Not a bad article, considering the general spew by most of the media.
> - Grug
> Hacktivism
> Are they activists fighting for just causes or computer geeks with too much
> time on their hands? Hacktivism is the wired way to make a statement, but
> some hackers feel that sitting in your living room just isn't the same as
> sitting in front of a tank.
> Here's what it's all about: People with programming abilities and a passion
> for causes are writing programs that allow them, and other Internet users,
> to hack sites of governments and organizations that they feel are doing
> wrong. It's the electronic equivalent of the Plowshares Eights' disarming of
> a nuclear warhead...
>  Or is it?
> Ira Winkler is a paid hacker. The ZDTV Spy Files columnist and former NSA
> employee now works in the private sector, stealing -- and returning -- large
> sums of money from corporate computer systems to test their security. Ira
> says that hacktivists are essentially "taking a criminal action, and
> justifying that criminal action by saying they're doing it for a cause." To
> Ira, hacktivism isn't political protest -- it's vandalism.
> But some of the more popular forms of online activism are not illegal and do
> make a difference. Take, for instance, the "Virtual Sit-in," where a piece
> of software called FloodNet gives interested surfers the opportunity to hit
> a target server repeatedly until, hopefully, the server goes down. It
> disables the offender's ability to maintain the Web site and shows them that
> there are a lot of people who disagree.
> Hacktivist/artist/software engineer Carmin Karasic of the Electronic
> Disturbance Theater admits, "The person who's putting their life on the line
> is making a much more dramatic statement than the person who's just clicking
> their mouse and then walking away." The Internet is a new public forum,
> however, and Karasic realizes its potential to galvanize global response to
> injustices: "It's better to give a wider variety of people the opportunity
> to make a statement than it is to say, 'Either make your statement this way
> and be dramatic about it, or shut up and don't make a statement at all.'"
> John Lester, of the hacking group Cult of the Dead Cow has no illusions that
> what he does is -- or should be -- approved of by the establishment. "You
> can't be disobedient and not do something wrong," he states bluntly. His
> group has come up with many ways to shake up the system, such as Back
> Orifice, a program designed to exploit weaknesses in Microsoft networks.
> While I wouldn't put the crimes of a monopolistic organization (especially
> one that donates hundreds of millions of dollars to gun control advocacy) on
> a par with those of a murderous dictatorship, such methods can be used
> effectively even against governments.
> In the final analysis, what makes an action truly meaningful is whether or
> not it raises awareness and brings about positive change. Last year's hack
> into the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs site, to protest that
> government's human rights abuses in East Timor, was done anonymously, with
> the perpetrators taking no credit. Press coverage online and in print
> brought the issue to the attention of many Internet users who might
> otherwise have never even heard of East Timor. I would call that a
> resounding success for hacktivism.
> For the most part, I'm on Carmin and John's side; the Internet presents a
> new way to raise international awareness of important issues. If the only
> way that some people are willing to participate is by writing code and
> taking part in virtual sit-ins, then that's a few more people making a
> difference who might otherwise have remained in silence or ignorance.
> Still, I understand Ira's cynicism. The Internet is full of people who have
> nothing better to do than make trouble. Serious hacktivism opens the door
> for frivolous hacking. Letting a company know that you don't like its
> software by taking down its Web site is not equal to letting an oppressive
> government know that you disagree with its policy of genocide.
> It's not a simple issue, and as hacktivism gains more media attention, the
> debates will grow. For more information, check out Electronic Civil
> Disobedience and Phrack. If you think I'm one sided, tell me.
> [: hacktivism :]
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