We now live in an age where our digital network typography is characterised as a distributed network whereby each individual – as an individual node in the system – has the power consume, produce, subvert and disrupt the network. This is what hacktivists such as Anonymous, Wikileaks and Lulz Security essentially do – they subvert, disrupt and hack into networks by gaining unauthorised information as a means to promote social and political aims. This is because hacktivists follow basic liberal principles that:
- information should be free
- there should be no secrets
- There should be no authoritarian regimes
Due to their sophisticated ability to hack into systems which supposedly have the tightest security, these Hacktivism groups have collected an extensive amount of information about international corporations and governments. For example, in 2010, Wikileaks released a 2007 classified US military video depicting US soldiers indiscriminately killing and wounding a dozen of people -including children – in the Baghdad.
As you can imagine, corporations and governments aren’t happy about this as highly classified information can easily compromise their position and reputation. But is this necessarily a bad thing?
Well, the good think about Hacktivism is that it can help disclose the incriminating truths and secrets of government bodies and corporations. While organisations try to hide information from the public, hacktivists are able to tell the public the truth and hold government bodies and corporations to account. However, the downfall of hacktivism that it can threaten national security and breakdown international relations. Thus depending on how Hactivism is used and in what context, it can be positive, but it can also lead to negative implications.