“The unbearable lightness of being”: hackers, Government and industry regulations

The End Of LulzSec Is Not The End Of Hactivism | Techdirt. 27 June 2011

The reader (and Kundera if he ever stumps upon the post) will, I hope, forgive me for this reference to Kundera’s novel based in former Czechoslovakia around 1968, with the Printemps de Prague (the Spring of Prague) this crucial time that involved the relative development and then complete loss of freedom of expression under the Soviet rule.

It is just that “lulz” made me think of “luz”, the light in Spanish, and light in English refers also to ‘lightness’.

The post itself on LulzSec is ‘straightforward’ in that indeed hacktivism is not going to disappear with a particular group, this time LulzSec, before Anonymous (Wikileaks, Arab Spring), and so on. Hacktivism is a frame of mind and the people use the technology they know best: internet, to put forward ideas and twist, if possible, the intended outcome of others’ censoring actions.

With another association of ideas, this time the UK riots of a few weeks ago, I wonder to which extent groups like LulzSec belong to the tradition of riots and manifestations Peter Ackroyd reminded us about (at least for London, but I can attest for Paris in France) in an interview of 22 August 2011. They are spontaneously formed, they have a precise target (usually a Government policy that affects them), they express a ‘malaise’, an unease about society and its development, and they can -but not always- create collateral damage not necessasrily intended. Of course, one could say that hacktivism is not violent, but it could be argued that it is not physically violent, yet it can cause harm.

that is why the move from Telstra, the Australian telco, not to participate in the Australian Government’s scheme to filter the internet with no accountability guarantees, after an initial agreement to do so, looks interesting in terms of the power of hacktivism in pushing many to reflect on freedom of expression’s issues boh on private companies and Governments. It would be fascinating to see/study what is effective, against whom, why and how: physical manifestations like in the recent Arab Spring, orĀ  online manifestations.

Here are the articles related to the post:

“Telstra Having Second Thoughts Over Censorship Plan; Fears Reprisals From Hactivists”, TechDirt, 27 June 2011

Peter Ackroyd: ‘Rioting has been a London tradition for centuries‘”, The Independent, 22 August 2011

Australia, Once Again, Seeks To Censor The Internet”, TechDirt, 24 June 2011

Will Arresting ‘Anonymous’ Members Help Or Hurt Anonymous?“, TechDirt 14 June 2011


About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
This entry was posted in Anonymity, censorship, Corporate Responsibility, Freedom of speech. Bookmark the permalink.

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