Monday, August 15, 2011

Hactivism Versus Terrorism

I believe that taking down web sites in response to political intrigue, or in response to attempts by governments to suppress the free flow of information, or in the interest of fighting the corporate overlords, is heroism in the grand revolutionary tradition. And inasmuch as radical hackers are doing that... I can't say I oppose them (at least, not in theory). In the last 24 hours a cabal of hackers took over the web site... while I am not on the side of the protestors with regard to BART's police shooting a violently psychotic armed man who was charging the officers, I certainly would support them in their efforts on Constitutional principle. So far, so good.

But I draw the line at invasion of privacy. It appears that personal information from approximately 2000 MyBART accounts was copied. In other words, stolen. Now, let's review: a core mission of the radical hacker movement is to go after entities (such as governments) that seek to block the free flow of public information while simultaneously protecting private information from being used for nefarious purposes.

How in the hell does stealing the personal information of 2000 innocent people help your cause? We often use the phrase "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter" glibly. But when hactivism goes beyond DDoS and front-page defacement into invasion of privacy, then the radical hacker is no longer representing the larger cause of freedom. You have become the very thing you claim to be fighting. You have become a wielder of fear as a weapon. In short, you are a terrorist.

Specifically with regard to the MyBART incident, many of the 2000 victims were on your side. These people who supported you are going to turn against you, because, simply put, you attacked the wrong people. Those 2000 people are not the police officers involved in the string of high-profile shootings. They are not the corrupt political machine that runs BART. Those 2000 people are your neighbors, your friends, and some of them -- like me for example -- are activists. Because of your actions, the story is no longer about those you claim to be defending; it is now about the innocent people YOU attacked and harmed.

Nice way to defeat the cause you claim to support. Morons.


  1. I had such high hopes for Anonymous
    tthhpptth I must say, though - I'm intrigued. Who are they, really. What's the end-game here?

    I think you may give the rabble-rousers more credit than they deserve -- we're not likely to get a coherent justification for these actions, and who the heck are they? Could be some 13-year-old or something.

    Then again, the government may be behind it, some muti-national corporation or something.

    Whoever it is, didnt do any favors for anyone's cause, as far as I can tell. I'm with ya on that

  2. By the way, congrats on the blog
    You've got it looking really nice
    I'll be listening -- always good to hear your take on things man!

  3. I luvs my Levi!

    Turns out, there was ANOTHER hacking incident today. This time, Anonymous hacked a web server serving BART's police force... and they published the names, physical home addresses, email addresses, and some sort of password-ID for every member of the BART police force. Yeah. Methinks it's not a wannabe Zuckerberg in a basement somewhere, between jackoff-to-Internet-porn sessions. It has the hallmarks of Anonymous.

    Don't get me wrong: I think there are very real issues to be examined here, and I applaud the national furor which this stuff has unleashed inasmuch as it is always a good thing when people take some time to think about privacy, freedom of expression, social justice, police brutality, and the boundaries between these various things. But... umh... empowering any random wingnut who might be reading a web site to know where the family and children of a police officer live? Not cool. These aren't violent hate-groups. These are public servants. Do some of them need some hardcore re-education about humanity? Absolutely. Does that justify putting innocent spouses and children at risk? No. A thousand times NO.

    At least, that's how *I* see it.

    On a happier note... I am *so* happy to hear from my Levi! We gotta get your boney ass up here so you can meet some of the beautiful people who have come into my life and so that you can experience some hardcore queer-Jesus-lovin' Pentecostal gospel music at my church. There is an all-transgender choir ... did I mention that? :)