Hacking Is Creating a New Sense of Space

As we discussed in class, there is white collar and black collar hacking, but the truth is, both remediate space.  As we have brought up in previous classes, with the turn of the digital age, our sense of space is changing, as it is now mobile instead of fixed to one location.  With hacking where it is online, it recreates our space both literally, depending where we are plugged in, as well as changing our social group (who is commenting, encouraging the online activism) and how we interact, as well as changing our sense of place of what we are trying to overtake.  For example the infamous hacking group Anonymous changed cyber space so safer place when they went and gave the government web addresses to child pornography sites, actually making not only the web a safer place, but by those people going to jail making the physical world a safer place for our children and ourselves).  If this hacking is not online, but is hacking physical places such as old abandoned governement buildings that we looked at in class, it changes how we see the city, and by bringing those things online to share to a greater audience, it leaves others sense of space of the city as well as encouraging an online community, and making people think deeper about what they have a right to know, and how they can be activists in this way.

Examining the Effectiveness of Hacktivism in its Role

Tim Jordan’s essay addresses the very same concern that I had with the premise of hacktivism: that the message can be unclear and the protest form unrecognized. Particularly in terms of the DOS (denial of service) attacks. DOS attacks aim to slow or completely stop the targeted computers or targeted websites. We saw an example of this intention in one of our application pieces: http://www.businessinsider.com/anonymous-facebook-2011-8. In this article we are prepared for the coming of a hacker group’s ‘destruction’ of Facebook, an act motivated by the need to repossess our privacy and personal information. However, at the end of the article, it indicated that this destruction would appear in the form of a DOS. I logged into Facebook on the day that this attack was supposed to take place and I had no problem accessing the site, nor did I register any lag. Perhaps this is because when I was using Facebook the ‘attack’ had already taken place, or had yet to. But my point is that if the attack already occurred, what trace of it is left behind? If there is no physical trace, how well will it be remembered and thus, effective in delivering its message? And referring back to my previous concern, how will users recognize that the DOS was a protest and not just a DOS?

In my opinion, hacktivism exploits are much less effective in their ability to communicate to the common user than conventional real world activism. Maybe it will make a statement to the targeted organization, group, or company, but this statement cannot be as bold or as powerful unless it reaches the people. And as Jordan points out, there are no people passing by during an online attack like there are during physical protests. Take the Occupy Wall Street movements (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jW8j-JMi0c&feature=relate). These actions are powerful because they can be seen, heard, recorded, photographed, observed, inclusive, and intrusive of real spaces. Most importantly, the everyday people embody these protests, while only technical insider groups initiate hacktivism approaches. This is a significant difference because I believe that if activism is supposed to benefit the larger society, the larger society needs to be able to contribute to its proceedings, a proposal that does not seem operational within hacktivism.