Hackers as Resistance (illegal and legal)

Hacking. It is a full time hobby, taking countless hours per week to learn, experiment, and execute the art of penetrating multi-user computers: Why do hackers spend a good portion of their time hacking? Some might say it is scientific curiosity, others that it is for mental stimulation. But the true roots of hacker motives run much deeper than that. In this file I will describe the underlying motives of the aware hackers, make known the connections between Hacking, Phreaking, Carding, and Anarchy, and make known the "techno-revolution" which is laying seeds in the mind of every hacker. . . And whatever you do, continue the fight. Whether you know it or not, if you are a hacker, you are a revolutionary. Don't worry, you're on the right side.

("Doctor Crash," 1986, Phrack 6)

In the beginning the military-industrial complex invented the Internet, and the generals looked upon the Internet and saw that it was an effective war-proof control structure. And as the military-industrial complex penetrated the halls of academia, the professors looked upon the Internet and saw that it was interesting. The professors showed it to their students, and the students looked upon the Internet and saw that it was brilliant. Then the student activists saw the Internet, and realised that it was capable of being subverted into a more socially useful purpose than a control structure for the military-industrial complex - and lo, the state lost control of the Internet!

(electrohippies : http://www.greennet.org.uk/ehippies/)

Are hackers revolutionaries? Some are. Part of the reason West German hackers (such as Pengo who was a punk and a Green) attempted to hack for the Russians (codename "Project Equalizer") was because they wanted to promote peace through reducing the Westís technical advantage. The 1960s New Left started Phreaking. Computer hackers and enthusiasts in general tend to be a mixture of libertarian, anarchist, and generally liberal. They are overwhelmingly opposed to authoritarian systems. Cyberpunk literature shows the individual using technology, somehow surviving in the midst of authoritarian structures.

More recently, "hacktivism" has emerged as people have learnt how to put their computer "in the way," instead of their body. Hacktivists have broken into websites to put a political message on the site (freeing computer hacker Kevin Mitnick, human rights in China, the Zapatistas, and East Timor have all been popular topics). Hacktivists invented the electronic sit-in. A program called "Floodnet" allows you to set your computer so that it is constantly requesting a webpage. Activists can cooperate from around the world, and if enough people join it will slow down the webpage, ultimately leading to a Denial of Service. In addition, it is possible to overload a targetís email account by sending them large attachments. Hacktivists flooded and email bombed the World Trade Organization during its meeting in Seattle.

It is also possible to legally use computers and the Internet to share information and build movements of resistance. The reduction of costs of communication helps both multi-national corporations and encourages the creation of a global alliance of anti-corporate resistance. For instance the student anti-sweatshop movement (United Students Against Sweatshops) has used an email list as its primary organizing tool and has arguably become the most cohesive and powerful progressive student movement in only two years.

Theoretical Framework
Hacking History
Phone Hacking
What is Hacking?
Juvenile Discourse, Black Hats, and White Hats
Hacker Language
Juvenility and Carding
Problems with the White Hat Hacking Discourse
Nostalgic Discourse
Problems with the Nostalgic Discourse
Law Enforcement and Computer Security Discourse
The Legal Discourse
Problems with the Law Enforcement Discourse
Media Discourse
Hackers as Resistance (illegal and legal)
Limitations to Resistance
Works Cited