Hack and Slash

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Hacktivism in its simplest form is the practice of gaining unauthorized access to a computer system and carrying out various disruptive actions as a means of achieving political or social goals. Basically hacking for the ‘greater good’. This is a very polarising issue in today’s society. Everyone you speak to will have different opinions on if it is ethical to break the law to expose government secrets.

“The N.S.A. has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.” – Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is one of the most recent examples of breaking the law for the greater good. He worked for the NSA as a system administrator until 2013 when he leaked NSA documents to media outlets worldwide. These documents detailed the extensive surveillance network run by the NSA in conjunction with their partners in Australia, UK and Canada. The documents revealed a program called XKeyscore, an analytical tool that allows for the collection of “almost anything done on the internet”. The NSA was monitoring phone calls, hacking email accounts, using location services on mobile phones, tracking cookies and even creating characters in online games such as World of Warcraft to monitor ‘potential threats’.

Snowden is seen by many as a hero for exposing the extent of the surveillance network used by the NSA but in the eyes of the law he is a criminal. Snowden was charged with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person,” but is still currently free living in Russia.

I believe that what Snowden did was a public service and his actions are completely justified. I can see why the U.S would be pressing charges but I sincerely hope nothing ever comes of them. The NSA surveillance techniques exposed by Snowden are shining example of why hacktivism  is necessary.

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5 thoughts on “Hack and Slash

  1. The title hack and slash as you’ve put it, is a classic and well thought of. You have explained the idea of Hacktivism very well and the thought that people can hack into government or military secretive files is mind boggling. Surveillancing networks, having been discovered has hit the world by a storm. You are correct and I agree hacktivism is necessary sometimes, and without these ‘online protests’ as I would say, many things would be left untold.

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  2. Haha loving the matrix photo! Great opening definition simple yet effective. You have also used lecture and course material very well to accompany your own personal thoughts and opinions on the topic. I love the youtube clip you’ve added really interesting it’s not an actual movie coming out is it? Also i’ve found that after doing this subject my personal views on hacktivism have changed. Before when your looking from the “outside” almost and you don’t completely understand the story or reasoning behind it you would probably say yeah its not right however once you become more informed do you feel your perception has changed?

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  3. Bonus points for the Matrix image! It is almost naive for people to think we aren’t being spied on, or to believe we’re being spied on by governments online, but when that belief is a confirmed reality it can be quite unnerving. Government agencies are going to insane measures to ensure public safety. The Snowden case is an interesting case as he is seen in two lights – a hero, and as a traitor, depending on who you ask. The case brings forward a number of ethical issues about breaking the law to expose government secrets.

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  4. Love the Matrix header, very appropriate! I would have to say that I am on your side when it comes to views on Snowden. It was justified, and it’s always good to see the U.S government get un-stuck for war crimes and the rest. I like that you take a side as well, it gets frustrating reading a lot of fence sitters blogs. Keep it up!

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  5. Always nice to see a justified view at the closing of a post, where many writers choose to sit on the fence. I agree with your take of Snowden. To believe we are not being spied on is definitely living in ignorant bliss… Its part of humanity to be snoops in regards to peoples private business.

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