Hacktivism is the subversive use of computers and computer networks to promote a political agenda. With roots in hacker culture and hacker ethics, its ends are often related to the free speech, human rights, or freedom of information. Hacktivism has been, and still is, under intense debate as to whether or not it causes more good than harm. Whilst most hacktivism is non-violent and has been seen to have positive impacts on our political issues, it is still considered illegal, and ‘hacking’ still has the negative stigma of being wrong, intrusive, childish and selfish attached to it.
An example of a strong and well-known group of hacktivists are ‘Anonymous’. Anonymous have been seen to be involved with many social and political issues throughout the past few years and have successfully hacked into certain organisations and had powerful impacts. One example is when the group successfully took down more than 40 illegal child pornography websites. The hackers specifically targeted Lolita City, a file-sharing site used by pedophiles, and leaked the names of the site’s 1,589 active members to the public. This is just one of many examples where hacking is used for positive reasons. The meme below explores how hacking still has that negative preconception attached to it, a conception that needs to be changed when it comes to examples like ‘Anonymous’.