Legions of the Underground will do little to alter the existing conditions and much to endanger the rights of hackers around the world. Declaring ‘war’ against the country is the most irresponsible thing a hacker group could do. This has nothing to do with hacktivism or hacker ethics and is nothing a hacker could be proud of.
- 2600, the Chaos Computer Club, L0pht, Heavy Industries, Phrack, Toxyn, Cult of the Dead Cow, Pulhas, and !Hispahack (1999)
We quickly discovered while studying hacktivism that a coherent and consistent definition is an enigma. Maybe this is a reflection of the decentralized and deeply individualized medium that plays host to it, or maybe it’s due to its sheer newness. In our research, we were able to identify two major motivations in work that self-identifies as hacktivism: the values of activism and street protest and the ethics dominant in hacker culture. In their book Hactivism and Cyberwars: Rebels with a Cause?, Tim Jordan and Paul Taylor identify these two strains as mass action hacktivism and digitally correct hacktivism, respectively. We will explore this terminology further in later sections, but it is important to note that Jordan and Taylor base their distinction on the hacktivist’s relationship to an inherently disembodied cyberspace. In their view, digitally correct hacktivists embrace this feature of cyberspace, whereas mass action hacktivists counter it by attempting to populate this space with embodied agents. To be clear, the two aren’t meant to be hard and fast divisions, nor could they be. In fact, most hacktivist activity could be argued to demonstrate elements of both. However, these categories do provide a useful analytical framework for examining hacktivist actions.
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