Hacktivism Essay

1943 words - 8 pages

Walk through the grocery store or go to buy a computer or a car, you will see labels for no steroids or additives, “This item meets energy star requirements”, or an EPA rating sticker. These primarily have come about from activist and lobbyist. Activism has definitely shaped our society for better or worse.
Activism has long been a practice in American society. Only recently has the Internet become a factor in political participation. Hacktivism has brought a new method of activism where people all over the world can participate in. But is this new form of activism ethical from any standpoint? This paper will discuss the ethics behind hacktivism.
Merriam-Webster defines ethic as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation”. As new technology enters today’s market, ethics and morals are not always clear to everyone. Ethics and morals can differ from one person to another, this factor along with the uncertainty that comes with new technology.
Severson in 1997 talks about when Equifax and lotus notes were going to start a new consumer marketing program. The program would allow companies to buy these databases of customers’ information to use for target marketing. The methods they provided were not sufficient to the public as far as privacy and an opt out program. The product died after an uproar from the public about privacy concerns. This is just one of the ways the new technology of computing, along with developers challenges ethics.
Activism comes in many shapes and sizes and is accompanied by a plethora of controversial issues. In the 1970s the main concern of many active members of society was homosexual rights. Moving toward the middle of the century many focused on the quality of the products being distributed with help from Ralph Nader. Late in the decade many focused attention on their concerns about the environment. (McGeehan, n.d.)
The 1980s were remembered for the activism surrounding the issue of HIV/AIDS (OutHistory, 2010) and the 1990s were filled with people interested in bringing to light social issues such as abortion, nuclear proliferation, environmental protection, rights for those with disabilities and continued civil rights issues (Martin, 2007). This isn’t a complete list of course but it is a rough outline of the things that concerned citizens during a 30-year period of American history.
Activism has been a huge part of our society, just look at how we came to America in the first place. Activism tends to more in favor of people and their rights, but we do have laws against violence and damaging property. Activism has come in peaceful protests, to boycotting products, to burning down buildings and starting wars. Depending on the passion of the individuals and how far they are willing to go a lot of harm can come from activism. Yet activism seems to carve society in such a way to conform if the move is strong enough. Is it justified to kill...

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