HACKTIVISM: HELPFUL OR HURTFUL?

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Are internet vigilantes like Anonymous a force for good, evil, or both?

Andrew Miller, Staff Reporter

As technology has developed over the years and we have become a computer-based society, the freedom to explore has lead people to try new things. One of these activities that has grown in popularity over time is known as “hacktivism.”

The term is a portmanteau of the words “hacker” and “activism,” and is essentially the use of computer hacking for promoting ideas and even protesting. The most famous example today is the hacktivist group Anonymous, noted for claiming to be responsible for the hacking incidents of Netflix in 2012 and Playstation Network in 2011, as well as numerous attacks on the Pentagon.

Senior Skyler Froud believes there are more effective routes of correcting the problem, and said, “I think they should be punished in other ways.”

The group claims to be doing good for the world by acting as a “digital Robinhood,” and have backed up their claims by attacking those who partake in political corruption and homophobia.

But the question remains: are hacktivist groups really doing the world a favor, or are they simply another entity interested in anarchical downfall?

Junior Wyatt Fernandez feels they are hurting the wrong group. “I feel like they shouldn’t hack the corporations because if effects the consumers and reduces the corporations’ profit/income.”

Senior Tara Miner agrees, explaining, “Although it seems right to hurt the corruption, I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it. Power needs responsibility.”

It seems that both is the answer, as one’s response to the question is relative to ideals and personal choice. For example, one could agree that punishing government corruption is morally right because they “deserve it” in a sense, but is it worth risking the safety of an entire country by attacking it’s security stronghold like the Pentagon?

Again, the answer is completely relative. It is refreshing to know that there are groups working to watch over a nation, but at the same time some of their methods are questionable. This age of cyber warfare is no different than our ancestors’ debates regarding morals or ethics, and it is up to you whether the term hacktivist draws connotations of a freedom fighter or a cyber-terrorist.