Hactivism

carey carey@tstonramp.com
Fri, 19 Apr 2002 15:05:25 -0700


Oxblood Ruffin sent a piece off to the Register.  I got a chance to finally
geek at it, and here's some preliminary thoughts.

1) He doesn't really go into detail about what 'hactivism' is.  He says a
bit about what its not (Its not script kiddie antics, nor is it merely DOS
attacks) but really fails to enlighten an audience as to what it _is_.  One
person's perspective on the subject (say, damaging a government's
capabilities to impose firewalls) might not be anothers.

2) He defines aspects of hactivism, by relating it to P2P networks.
Essentially, Napster was easy, and it worked.  Hactivism (or the really
CHEESY term H2H) should be equally easy and should also work.    My
argument, is that don't you need to have a central idea before you can make
it easy?  Napster was easy precisely because it was simple.  There was a
uniform goal -- trading music.   Hactivism, at least to me, doesn't seem to
share this characteristic.  One person's tyrant is another's elected leader.

Here's the part I especially didnt' like:

"H2H networks are like nuclear families living in large communities.
Everyone may live in the same area, but each family has its own home where
the doors open, close, and lock. And occasionally, a family member will
bring someone new home. Everyone will sit around the living room, and if all
goes well, the guest will be shown the library, perhaps, and maybe even
someone's bedroom. All of this is based on earned trust. H2H networks will
operate along these lines, where families will share a space and grant
permission to one another as well as to certain visitors. The greater the
trust, the more permissions will be granted; and for guests visiting the
home, trust will be earned incrementally. "

Which leads me to my last point:
3) these h2h networks already exist.   They have for some period of time.
Shit.  I remember 'H2H' networks on the BBSes I used to frequent.  Hackers,
or Information nuts, or whatnot, would get together, accept you (or not) and
build you into their family.  THis just extended throughout the Net.   A
perfect example of a net-meatspace 'h2h' bit is the 2600 meetings in various
cities, all over the world.   And how long have they been in existence?

Its an interesting article, but I as a casual user might look at this not as
a rallying cry, and more as a cry for some purpose.   I have a lot of hope
in the hactivists...  I share many of the goals.   But to many others, I can
see this as a rather weak explanation/justification?  for actions that
aren't even comfortably worked out in Ruffin's mind, much less in the
hactivist community.

IANAH (I Am not a Hactivist) :)  , so take my ideas with a grain or seven of
salt.

Here's the link:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/24946.html

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that
you do it." -  Mahatma Gandhi

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