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Censorship Your Rights Online

On Hacktivism 246

z84976 writes "Oxblood Ruffin, of cDc fame, has produced a nice article discussing various aspects of hactivism and some of the approaches used by their own Hacktivismo group in supporting freedom (of thought, mainly) on the internet. Check it out over at The Register when you get a chance."
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On Hacktivism

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  • Hacktivism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BrianGa ( 536442 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @03:59PM (#3375564)
    You know, the antics of the music industry (and the kind of thing that MS is kowtowing to with their DRM scheme) really pisses me off, but also convinces me that there will eventually come something to replace them both. But, know what? It's their property. If they want to fuck up their distribution channels, fuck em. I can do without "so-called" modern music anyway. I go see live bands locally, get lit, and have a great time and I didn't need to buy a fucking copy-protected by the DMCA CD or cassette or anything. These guys are out there trying to make a living, maybe you should check em out. And if you catch them after the show, you might can convince them that they should distribute their songs on CD's for cheap and ask them (ask them) about how they feel about MP3's and music-sharing in general. Of course, they might not agree with you (or myself), but they have that *right* to do so. So, I encourage, nay I *challenge* each and every one of you who would boycott MS or the RIAA to pick up a local newspaper and see what's going on in y our town this weekend. Chances are, there's a band or two actually worth checking out, and hey, it's not like you're going to meet chicks sitting behind your monitor. Oh, and on-topic: Rock on Beale! I'm encouraged to see that grassroots hactivism coming alive! :) (hacker used in "coder" definition) Keep up the good work and keep fighting the good fight.
    • Yes! I'm an active member of the Charlotte, NC music scene and I have been exposed to the most incredible, talented bands I have ever heard. The scene here is a lot better than most places, especially if you're into hardcore, but everywhere has something. Go support your local artists. If you hear something you like, buy a shirt or a CD or just give the band a compliment when you see them. I've heard so many good bands and met so many cool people. Get off your ass and stop whining about how the RIAA is taking away your rights and go out in your community and circumvent the whole system.

      You will be suprised.
    • You know, I hate to rain on your parade, but it's really fucking lame to copy/paste *other people's words* as your own. You know what I'm talking about.

      Sheesh, first article I check out today and see one of my posts with someone else's fuckin name attached.

      At least give credit.

  • by Dr Caleb ( 121505 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:00PM (#3375570) Homepage Journal
    In Mauritania - as in most countries - owners of cybercafés are required to supply government intelligence agents with copies of e-mail sent or received at their establishments.

    If anyone is ever in a cybercafe in Mauritania or Elbonia, let's mail them 64k of encrypted random data. Let the government snoops try to decode that!

    • "Elbonia - where gambling and prostitution are not only legal, they're mandatory." - Dilbert

      (or was that Elstonia?)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's the same thing.
    • What is the difference between encrypted random data and random data?
      • What is the difference between encrypted random data and random data?

        Just put the "PGP Message Follows" header thingy in front of your random data. Hours of enjoyment for the whole family.
      • When the NSA's new supercomputer 8 qBit quantum computer crunches through it and breaks the encryption, it'll still be garbage but they had to work for it.

        It's like finding a treasure map, finding the treasure, digging it up, only to get an empty box.

        • Then they'll get the hidden message in the random data. ;)

          Like playing Ann Murray's Snowbird backwards and getting the message about the impending Canadian invasion...
          • Seen this [] yet?

            • Quoting:
              Svend Robinson, the NDP Foreign Affairs critic, also criticized the government. "If ever there were any evidence needed that Canadian troops should not be in Afghanistan under United States command we have seen the tragic evidence of that," Mr. Robinson told a news conference.

              "If Canadian troops cannot be certain that they're not going to be fired on by Americans we have no business being there."

              This just shows how far from reality Svend Robinson is. Military operations (even training) are inherently risky. Co-operative operations with nations that operate usually with different equipment, protocols, and ROE are even more risky.

              There has never been a military operation where one group of troops could be certain that they would not be fired on by another group. And it is usually the infantry on the short end of the stick. That doesn't make it right, but right doesn't have a lot to do with war.

              And the day a nation becomes so averse to casualties taken (for any reason), it ceases to be able to exert itself even in the cause of peace or stability.
      • Encrypted random data won't compress. So if you wanted to send fake ciphertext, you would have to somehow render it uncompressible - or, better, encrypt a bunch of random garbage.
    • by blibbleblobble ( 526872 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:30PM (#3375738)
      No need. Just email a valid, encrypted file to somebody in the UK. They can go to prison for 2 years if they fail on request by the police to decrypt it.

      The legal burden is on the owner of an encrypted file to prove that they never had the key, and anyone using encryption is guilty until proven innocent, on the basis that anyone using encryption must be a snuff-child-porn baron
      • But wouldn't that come back to the sender of the email, not the reciever?

        It would be like asking someone on the street to prove they didn't have the key to the house they happened to be walking by.

      • Don't forget to add a nice incriminating subject, like "Re: Request for nuclear bomb plans, here you go" or "Schedule for attacking the air force base".
      • Wrong (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Shade, The ( 252176 )
        Firstly the police would have to have a warrant by a superintendent or above. Secondly they would have to be watching the communcations when the email has been recieved. Thirdly they would have to show that there is reasonable reason to believe that the target has the keys.

        So yes, if you were being monitored by the police and suspected of a crime, and you were sent an encrypted message, you might forgive the police for trying to decode it.

        That said, there is a lot about the RIP bill that is controversial. But compared to the Patriot Bill over in the US, it's pretty tame; warrants are still needed here for surveilence.
      • They can go to prison for 2 years if they fail on request by the police to decrypt it.

        The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 [] is a bit more complicated than this statement suggests. For instance, the explanatory notes [] say the act creates civil liability for unlawful interception on a private telecommunications network and defines who may bring an action, namely the sender, recipient or intended recipient. For example, where an employee believes that their employer has unlawfully intercepted a telephone conversation with a third party, either the employee or the third party may sue the employer.

        Interception normally requires a warrant from the Secretary of State. It would not be sufficient for him to consider that a warrant might be useful in supplementing other material, or that the information that it could produce could be interesting. The word 'necessary' means 'necessary in a democratic society'.

        The act provides for a tribunal as a means of redress for those who wish to complain about the use of the powers.

        The provision that forces disclosure of the decryption key assumes that the investigator has authority to read the email in the first place.

        The suggestion that the British practice resembles a dictatorship is preposterous.

        • The act provides for a tribunal as a means of redress for those who wish to complain about the use of the powers.

          I'm sure that'll be quite a consolation to the suspect as he's being tortured [] by agents of the Crown.

  • Advanced research and technical notes are being handed over to the Chinese without question. It couldn't be going better for the Communists.

    Can anyone back up this claim? I mean it doesn't seem like good business sense to just give things away for free to a competiting nation...
    • Re:Ummm... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      An interesting claim made in the article, and it caught my eye too, but for a different reason:

      Just because a nation adopts communism as their economic model does not make them an enemy of the US, of the world, or of any person or ideology. Communism is an interesting economic structure which has good points and bad points. Capitalism is another interesting economic structure which also has good points and bad points. Together a lot of their good points will overshadow the others bad points . . . like maybe there is some optimal mix of the two.

      Of course I'm an AC, what with McCarthy still very much alive in some powerful people . . .

      Does anyone think that the Chineese really want to continue to annex land? If so, then we need to bring some diplomatic efforts to try to resolve the situation. Sharing of technology should be viewed as a Good Thing, as we are increasingly a global society. Otherwise we should be bringing diplomatic efforts to them in the areas of space exploration, global resource management (they are a huge chunk of land), and environmentally sound industrial practices. Anyone who thinks that we can't learn from each other is simply ignorant, or truly stupid.

      This is probably Offtopic -1; Flaimbait -1; Troll -1; Treasonous -10

      Live free or die

      • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rorschach1 ( 174480 )
        Well spoken. I realized one day that pretty much the only education I'd had about Communism, at least before college, consisted of 'Communist = Evil'. Not even in high school did we ever cover the basics of what it really is.

        I spoke to a friend who spent some time travelling around Laos. Apparently the system's worked pretty well for them. They've got better education and nutrition now, access to healthcare, and at least some hope of sending their children on to something beyond a subsistence-level existence in a small village. And when you're operating on that scale, I really can't see how capitalism could be argued to be that much better.

        Empirical evidence would suggest, however, that communism hasn't worked out terribly well for the long term in larger implementations.
      • China isn't communist, though -- it's totalitarian state-run capitalism. Socialist, but not by Marx's definition.

        What I object to isn't the economic system -- it's the lack of individual freedom and the oppression of those who choose to go against government fiat. The economic system of China is very much like the USA, only the government owns all the corporations instead of the corporations owning the government :) (OK, the market has been somewhat liberalized in the past few years but this is still mostly true.) Understandably it's amazingly corrupt...

        It's still possible to speak your mind in the US without being run over by a tank... unless you're *really* on the fringes of society (e.g. Waco)

        (Disclaimer: IANAA -- I am not an American.)

    • Re:Ummm... (Score:4, Informative)

      by ProfMoriarty ( 518631 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:20PM (#3375691) Journal
      I believe what they were trying to get at, is that companies are getting or trying to get their products into China so badly (the market opportunity is huge), that they will help the Chinese government understand the product.

      Once the product is in China, then the reverse engineering can start. This has happened with a couple of rocket launches a few years ago. Also, it is purported that the former US administration allowed classified technologies into China.

      Unfortunately, I cannot provide links to help prove this post ... and that appears what you wanted in the first place ...

  • Hacking is a contact sport.
    The more people who have contact with one another, the better.
    -- Shaolin Punk,
    Proxy Boss,

    Yea, totally. I'm routing for the Bears!
    • Yea, totally. I'm routing for the Bears!

      Yes, that is one possible joke in this context :)
      The other would be "I'm rooting for the Bears!"
  • "Hacktivism chooses open code, mostly." Guess this means a lot of people will be against it because its not totally open.
  • Wow, is it just me or was that just a lot of fluff!

    If you consider some of his topics and questions that he introduces, there is no resolution. While trying to detail what hacktivism is, he makes one statement about it being about creating, rather then destroying, but on the other hand he says that people should be writing disruptive code. Also in the same vein, while talking about writing disruptive code and what should be made, there is a big Closed source bad/open source good (except when you want to hide something malicious). P2P turns into H2H, why napster shut down.. blah, blah, blah.

    While I applaud the use of key phrases and liberal use of rhetoric, I walked (or clicked) away with the sense that I wa no more enlightened...
    • This was meant to be a visionary kind of statement, to make you sit up and think a little bit. And he clearly states that "disruptive" was in context of the status quo (of censoring entities), not disruption of services, systems, etc.

      He described a problem, described the first step (design), and only hinted at implimentation (open vs closed code, and using P2P -- er, H2H -- systems), but primarily we the readers are meant to be inspired to find, rather than spoon-fed, the solutions (which may not be even be known yet).

    • It's just you. I found it pretty informative. I have known that other countries had been censoring internet access for their citizens for a while, but it never occurred to me that I should try to do anything about it. What I do not feel, having read that, is that I have a clue as to what to do.

      Was that supposed to be a speech for people who already know what to do? Or was it supposed to just make me aware and get me thinking? I thought that he said we shouldn't be writing disruptive code, but that we should practice dissonant compliance. (I know that wasn't the term, but that's what it sounded like.)

      It was beautifully written. I have to give him that.

    • Well put. Ironic that while the article bashes in the press and pundits who dare attach e to words, the author spends many column-inches predicting e-democratization.

      How often do most Internet users take take advantage of the fact that most major world newspapers are online, and a fish [] away from being comprehensible in their own language? I certainly can't speak for any Chinese, but the case for truth and light coming shining through the Internet seems vastly overstated to me. I think the reason is that putting the case for lux et libertas et machina is that you get to hack the firewall and call it progress, instead of cleaning up oozing wounds on people afflicted with AIDS.

      I admire the concern for social problems and the desire to get the tech community (indisputably among the world's richest few percent) involved. Let's just remember: technology won't solve a problem unless the remainder of the infrastructure exists to do the task at hand. You could definitely build a massive shipping database in Equatorial Guinea, but that wouldn't get shipments anywhere any faster than the donkey walks.

  • World War III (Score:4, Insightful)

    by loosenut ( 116184 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:07PM (#3375615) Homepage Journal
    The article quotes McLuhan: "World War Three will be a guerilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation."

    I firmly believe that this is true, and is going on right now. But I wonder if it is appropriate to mix this concept with hacktivism. Consider Bush's current position. He's convinced most of the world (most of the US, anyway) that he should be given free reign to wage war anywhere in the country, all in the name of fighting terrorism. I'll keep theories about military-industrial complex profits to myself, at this point.

    The point is, he is using major media outlets to spread his message, and in the mainstream media, very few people are questioning him. And at the moment, it is the mainstream media that carries the perception that it reflects the national consciousness.

    Not enough people have switched off their TVs and let their corporate newspaper subscriptions expire to make hacktivism effective. It's unfortunate, and I expect (hope) things will change in the coming years, but for now, it's largely irrevelevant.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You would think that a medium that offers no good information, barely passes for entertainment, and peppers you with commercials ad nauseum would ultimately fail. The fact that it has not yet indicates that there may be some addictive qualities to TV which should make it subject to FDA approval. There are actually some interesting studies that show a brain on TV is very much like a brain on Heroin, and that withdrawal from TV (though not like Heroin) is very difficult, moreso than caffine, and causes significant mood disruption.

      The media is a mouthpiece of corporate America, and therefore corporate America has been able to HIJACK the government largley through obfuscation of the facts and manufacturing consent.

      Turn of the TV. Go for a hike. Smoke a joint. Hang out nude with a good friend at some hot springs. Then think about what a good life might be and see if TV is a part of it. If it's not, turn it off and throw it away.

      Anonymouse, but not cowardly.

    • Re:World War III (Score:5, Insightful)

      by subhuman666 ( 574627 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:36PM (#3375761)
      The only problem with mainstream [] versus independant [] media sources is that the majority of US citizens tend to believe that anything that hasn't been reported by a major media outlet isn't verfiable. It's kind of funny actually, considering mainstream media rarely reports anything other than common knowledge and murders in Hollywood(check out CNN's front page)'s also a little sad, because this seems to be all society wants to hear.
      • I hear you. There's one guy in Canadian Parlament [] who's kicking up a fuss about how our government is basically useless because of the PM, but there is only one [] story in the news up here.

        • The National Post is a joke. It's just our version of CNN. Now the Globe and Mail on the other hand, that's a decent paper. Not perfect, but decent.

          Besides, the mace story doesn't deserve wide coverage. Some idiot MP throwing a temper tantrum isn't as important as, say, the 3 boards of inquiry looking into the two US F16 pilots that killed 4 soldiers.
      • Re:World War III (Score:4, Informative)

        by Archie Steel ( 539670 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @05:42PM (#3376172)
        A good example of this is the recent attempted coup in Venezuela: North American media have all relayed the information reported in Venezuelan media that government troops fired on anti-Chavez protesters. This, you'll remember, is what prompted his (ultimately unsuccessful) removal from power by the coup leaders -- which subsequently led the Bush administration to trample the ideals of democracy by refusing to denounce the coup (they didn't even call it like that at the time)! While the White House is pathetically trying to backpeddle out of this mess, it is still saying that Chavez will have to respect democracy (how Orwellian!) and not repress political dissent. However, nobody stopped to think if what was shown by the Venezuelan media was the whole truth, even though they are known to be overtly and aggressively anti-Chavez. As it happens, testimony from people who were there, including an Irish filmmaker, is starting to reveal that government troops were not the only ones to shoot [], and perhaps not even the first one. Another telling detail: most of those killed by snipers on that day were Chavistas (pro-Chavez) who had come to confront the anti-Chavez demonstration...
        • In Chavez's case, it's not surprising that suspicion fell on him pretty rapidly. Recall that he was involved in two previous armed conspiracies to overthrow the government... it's actually quite remarkable that they allowed him to run at all, really. Apparently Venezuela's more forgiving than most countries in that regard.
    • How strange. When I read that, I tried to remember my history, tried to think when Bush had been president.

      I just realised he still is... That's scary!
    • " Not enough people have switched off their TVs..."

      Perhaps it's time we hit our neighbors, friends and faimlies with a quick reality check.

      Run on sentence, spoken with accending pitch

      "Over half the country is on the Internet using hundereds of different instantanious media sources reporting at contantly increasing levels of detail all run and funded by competing conflicting interests, and you still wait for six o'clock to wade through a half hour of drivel and meaningless commercials that mean nothing to you to get to the one thing of interest on the TV news..."

      "...uh huh..."

      feel free to use :).

  • by Rorschach1 ( 174480 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:07PM (#3375616) Homepage
    To quote cDc at DefCon a couple of years ago.

    Personally I think 'hacktivism' is a grossly overused excuse for vandalism. Hacking sites as a 'service' to the operators is passe... now the kiddies have to act like they've got some sort of noble political agenda.
  • Im a hacktivist.
  • Mmm... I'm totally gonna buy that domain ( that they're selling. Think of all the wonderful things I could do with it. Although, I kinda feel sorry for the idiot that mispelled it and got the wrong domain for them. Wait... no I don't. *pointing finger and laughing*
  • Nothing New (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thryllkill ( 52874 )
    Civil liberties are being oppressed the world over, and us techies are pissed!

    This article tells us of some of the horrible things going on in the world and all, but it is nothing we didn't know was going on.

    Hackers collaborate over the web to fight oppression and close mindedness!

    Sound at all like a certain upstart OS?

    I really did like this article, don't get me wrong but it is very lite on the important information like what they are actually doing about it. I doubt making it easier for a Chinese person to rip music off of the internet is going to bring them to the enlightened western thinking necessary to invoke social change.

    What apps are you creating to further this change, where can I get the source (since you sited open source as being the obvious choice among hacktivist coders)? What can I do to help? This article, while being interesting, served no real purpose.

  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:17PM (#3375675)
    In 1968 the Canadian communications guru Marshall McLuhan stated, "World War Three will be a guerilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation."

    So if the war is being waged on the Internet by civilians would that make the /. effect an attack? Maybe we should call it a /. blitz or /. offensive. On that note we've been hitting a lot more good guys than bad guys, sheesh! Us geeks can't even get a techie war right!!
  • Open source Food (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ( 557454 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:23PM (#3375710) Homepage

    I have two things to say about this article.

    1) It was VERY VERY long

    2) I really liked the analogy of OSS to Resturants.

    Think about it. The majority of people never think twice about never seeing the ingrediants, but there are some who feel "I'm putting this stuff in my system, I have the right to know what's in it!". Some even have good reasons like peanut reactions and so forth.

    The resturant will say "If we tell you how we made it, we will lose business". I think that's nonscence personally. Ten to one, I'm not going to be able to cook that by myself anyway, and I'm just going to come back to the restaurant to get it donecorrectly. Plus if I do make it and feed it to all my friends and they say "where did you get that recipie?" and I tell them, don't you think they are going to go check out the menu for themselfs?

    And finally, what if the majority of the people eating at your restaurant wanted the food cooked a different way, but didn't have any other choice on the menu? They are going to take those ingrediants and make the food better. If the cook was smart enough, he might be able to learn from what the other cook did, and make his own product better!

    Am I making my analogy clear here, or is this just gibberish?

    • Ok I'll bite.

      Lookup news on MacDonalds, GM crops, and hormone-injected beef in France.

      Also lookup the US trade-barrier-attacks on French roquefort and fois-gras.

      Maybe MacDoSerfs in america don't care about the shit they eat (yes, that claim can be proven) but if "You are what you eat" then yes, Europeans do care about the recipe used at their restaurants.
  • Hybrid ! (Score:1, Funny)

    Oh my god ! Its genetic manipulation gone mad !
    Someones created an Ostrich-Troll hybrid ! It sticks its head in the sand to ignore whats going on around it, while simultaneously attempting to wind up its neighbours !
  • * Even less draconian governments, like Malaysia, have threatened Web-publishers, whose only crime is to publish frequent Web site updates. Timely and relevant information is seen as a threat.

    Even Deutsche Bahn [] threatens Google []. And the COS threatens everybody who mentions "" (oops!). It's an all-out assault on free-*.
  • Our fathers and grandfathers fought wars defending, among other things, our right to speak and be heard. They even fought to defend unpopular opinions. It is the unpopular opinions that are most in need of defense. Without them, society would remain unchallenged and unwilling to review core beliefs.

    That's right. your fathers and grandfathers fought and sometimes died, defending your right to free speech.

    So why aren't you, Oh Dead Cow cultists? A bunch of slackers dicking around with BackOrifice is nowhere near the same as actually defending your country and free speech.
  • Free Information (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AConnection ( 106831 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:27PM (#3375722)
    Maybe I am simply idealistic. I seem to remember an idea that Information *wants* to be free. I think this concept is accurate, simply by the huge increase in the access to all varieties of information that is on the internet. I also believe that this concept can be expanded by the idea that a "taste" of information is addictive. Think about the reason that information wants to be free, might it be because people desire more information/knowledge the more they get? If that is the case, and you give a taste to "restricted" people in restrictive governments, aren't a certain percent of them going to desire more information badly enough to find the holes in the wall?

    I've heard enough of both sides on the P2P debate over music trading to understand the premise behind both sides and can even see their respective points. This only means to me, that eventually, using my thoughts above that music will be changed forever and "profit" from "selling" your music will be something totally different than we have now and probably something we will not see coming. In the same way, enough people want free information, that I believe that everyone will eventually have access due to the efforts of a small number who fight to make the holes in the walls larger.
    • Horseshit! Horseshit! Horseshit! Information doesn't want anything - it's not a person or an animal. When you grow up and accept that it's people who want information to be free, the world will be a better place. Information is not a person or a place - it does not live. It is a thing, neither dead nor alive, without soul, bereft of consciousness. It needs a person to collect it, to collate it, to permutate it, to mutate it, to understand it in order for it to be useful.

      Your romantic notions of information have all the appearance of leftover's from the 1960's.
  • hacktivism (Score:1, Troll)

    by nomadic ( 141991 )
    There was an interesting case in Argentina where a judge ruled that an act of hacktivism, the defacing of their supreme court's webpage, wasn't illegal. I submitted it, and hacktivism, as a story, but was rejected.

    I'd post the address here, but what's the point, since this post will be modded off-topic by slashdot fanboys who burst into tears every time their beloved editors are criticized. Ooh, I bet someone will start snivelling about how if I don't like slashdot, I should stop reading it.

    • start snivelling about how if I don't like slashdot, I should stop reading it

      Well yeah, you'd be stupid to do otherwise. Unless you're a sado-masochist. Anyway, at least stop posting if all you're going to do is bitch about how the link you have will be modded down. Not that it necessarily would. Instead of spending my mod points to up I'm posting to point out why you're wrong.

      If you get all bitchy and complain how you submitted this and it was rejected, of course you're going to get modded down. If you say, "hey guys, in addition to this story I have this link for something similar" you'll most likely get modded up.

      Who cares who submits a story anyway, unless you really have to have the credit, then it's you who's the fanboy. Worrying about your karma and whether or not you get your name on the main page, sheesh.

      • Anyway, at least stop posting if all you're going to do is bitch about how the link you have will be modded down.

        Feel free to click on older stuff, and read the thousands of posts I have put up on slashdot. Only a handful of them mention this subject. Hence, that's not "all I do".

        Who cares who submits a story anyway, unless you really have to have the credit, then it's you who's the fanboy. Worrying about your karma and whether or not you get your name on the main page, sheesh.

        I've publicly advocated making it so the submitters are anonymous in stories; that would cut down on the people who submit just because they want to see their name on the front page.

        The problems I have with the current system are this:

        1) I've timed how long it took to get a story rejected. Used to take as much as an hour, now I've seen stories rejected literally in under 2 minutes. For them to complain that they're just overwhelmed with story submissions is incorrect, if that's how long it takes to clear it. To put it another way, I think I am justified in being a little irritated if I take 20 minutes to carefully research and write a story submission, and it's rejected without apparently being read.

        2) The ones they do pick usually aren't that interesting. When he was running it out of his house, fine, but if he wants a commercial operation that advertises itself, charges subscription fees, and has intentionally positioned itself as a commercial media enterprise, then they should be better able to handle criticism and suggestions. Don't they constantly run Jon Katz editorials about how internet media is superior because it's more in tune with the "community", and is more egalitarian? Then accept that if a lot of people complain about something, there might be something wrong.

        That's probably the most annoying thing; they get all offended over any criticism, and either ignore it or lash out at us for daring to suggest that maybe a few comp sci majors with no journalism experience might be doing a few things wrong.

        The problem with linking it to your ego, you come out looking foolish. Look at the April's Fools debacle; so many April Fool's posts, NONE of which fooled that many people, and they still had the nerve to announce at the end that like usual they had tricked all these people with their clever fake stories.
    • Have you noticed that news sites that let you vote and pick the news are much more successful in constructive comments? ...And the interesting stories like you mention, which are NERD stories, get rejected.

      Anyways, hacktivism? Why even mention it? If you mean in IRC space, there's wars between whiny clans all the time :-) If it's the Great FireWall of China, just remember the flag of the USSR, pickaxes. Just have a few hunderd people tear down all those buildings, from the inside out. Offing _their_ political leaders might not be a bad idea. The USA would surely benefit (hell, I betcha we're doing the same thing as we tried to do to Castro).

      What I dont get (and I am catholic), is those poeple who risk their life to spread........ Bibles. 1 Bible = death, so why not spread munitions to groups like Falun Gong? If you're going to be dead anyways, I'd rather go out with a bang (on their soil).

      Last, I hate those fanboys as much as you do. In a Commodore 64 article, I said commie. Mod to 0 cause some dipshit was too stupid to relate commie to commodore.
  • Who is the guy in the 'Censorship' icon? When I first started visiting the site I always thought it was Woody Allen. But that's not right.
  • back in 1995 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Syre ( 234917 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @04:33PM (#3375752)
    Back in 1995 I had some arguments... that is um... discussions (in Cannes at Milia) with Nicholas Negroponte and John Perry Barlow. Both Negroponte and Barlow believed that the Internet was an unstoppable force that would inevitably make countries like China become free.

    My argument was that the Chinese and other repressive governments would be sure to set up national proxies with filtering that blocked out sites the government didn't want people to see and kept track of what people were accessing.

    Both Negroponte and Barlow told me that was impossible and would never happen. They also pointed out that the TCP/IP is designed to route around obstacles.

    Well, I've been proven right (so why am I not running Media Lab or flying around the world giving speeches?). China and other countries (Singapore, etc.) have in fact put in national proxies and are blocking thousands of sites, tracking people's usage, and putting people in jail.

    On the other hand, I think that there is a hope that Barlow and Negroponte will eventually turn out to be right in the end, as hackers and other renegades put in alternative links via satellite and other means, which bypass these government blockades.

    If enough of that happens, the blockades will come down, since they won't be useful any longer.

    But I think there will be a long hard struggle befoe that happens.
    • Re:back in 1995 (Score:1, Insightful)

      I don't want to be a troll, but god knows I am sure there are some asshole senators in the government that would restrict the net here in the US if they could get away with it. They probably think it would be good for us.

      Shit slimeball scum companies like Gator are already spying on me.

    • Re:back in 1995 (Score:2, Insightful)

      You just included Singapore and China in the same bandwagon. I guess folks in America could afford to think a little bit more outside the obsession towards free speech. Singapore doesn't block websites that criticizes its own government. In plain simple words it blocks porn. What have we done so far to make the internet a safe environment for kids? Is there any onus on the pr0n site owners? You can easily get away with running a free porn post site which can be (potentially) visited by any age group.

      When it comes to free speech, everybody is up for hactivism or activism. When it comes to responsibility......
      • Re:back in 1995 (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Let's hear it for responsibility. Like the responsibility of a parent to keep his or her rugrat away from things they deem harmful.

        It's not my responsibility to keep anyone else's child away from things they don't like. If you want to shelter your kids from reality as a method of preparing them for it, you're welcome to do so, but not on my dime.

      • Re:back in 1995 (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NDPTAL85 ( 260093 )
        Responsibility? Well I'd guess you'd have to assume that porn in general is just plain bad for children. Just seeing naked people getting busy is going to mess them up right? Well not everyone agrees. So don't try to claim the moral high ground or assume we're all up there with you if you do.
      • Singapore == single-party government that regularly sues local and overseas journalists for writing unfavourable articles about its totalitarian nature.

        Gee, I wonder why Singapore gets lumped in with China. A benevolent dictator is still a dictator.

  • Someone who screams incessantly about something they know nothing about.
  • by dgroskind ( 198819 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @05:46PM (#3376190)

    Our definition of hacktivism is, "using technology to advance human rights through electronic media."

    You might not know it from reading the manifesto, but cDc and Hactivismo have actually been working on a product called Peekabooty [] that allows users to sneak through the firewalls that oppressive regimes set up to restrict access to the Internet.

    Hacktivism chooses open code, mostly.

    Peekabooty is open source under the GPL but the FAQ [] advises people who would like to do testing: "You should have enough equipment to run at least three nodes, which means three MS Windows machines (we are in the process of porting it to Linux). You should also be skilled with tracing through code using Visual C++ or your own favorite debugger."

    the main challenge for hackers is to keep focused on the goal of liberating the Internet.

    There seems to have been some kind of falling out [] between cDc and Hactivismo over Peekabooty. The lead developer Paul Baranowski (aka Drunken Master) said he has "decided to sever ties with the Hacktivismo group but he will continue to develop the Peekabooty app. Occasionally developers can't find the environment they need to do their best work and now is one such time."

  • by josh crawley ( 537561 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @05:47PM (#3376197)
    Evidently, some AC posted a link about cDc (the main group in the article) how they offer to help the government. []

    Now let's get a piece of that article linked above...

    So we intend to re-architect Back Orifice

    from the ground up. There will be absolutely no
    shared code between the two projects,
    in order to skirt detection by commercial
    antivirus packages. The code will remain
    totally secret. The software will never
    surface publicly.
    And it will be far
    more stealthy than anything we have ever
    released, demoed, or publicly discussed.

    What's this about? Are they friend of foe??? And lastly, the thread was modded -1, offtopic. Evidently somebody didn't want us to see that....

    josh crawley
  • I am of the opinion that activism is amoral whereas civil disobedience is not only moral, but one's duty. I think a good portion of hackitivism is not civil disobedience but instead just activism. At any rate, here is a quote from Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" which is probably the most elegant statement I've ever read regarding the limits (and requirements) of protest.
    If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth--certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.
    So, in my mind, hacking a web page can never really be justified--no matter what the cause is. On the other hand, refusing to obey government censorship (in places like China) by hacking through their censors is, in my mind, is a very noble thing.
    • refusing to obey government censorship (in places like China) by hacking through their censors is, in my mind, is a very noble thing.

      To be consistent with Thoreau's ideas on civil disobedience, the hacker would be have to announce his actions to the authorities and be prepared to go to jail.

      As political tactics, Thoreau's ideas may not be so effective in China. Considering the treatment of the Falun Gong [] and other religious groups, appeals to the conscience of the Chinese authorities are likely to be in vain. They don't have any.

      After Tianamen Square [] no one needs to lecture the Chinese on civil disobedience or the consequences thereof.

    • "I am of the opinion that activism is amoral whereas civil disobedience is not only moral, but one's duty. I think a good portion of hackitivism is not civil disobedience but instead just activism."

      The essay posits a new, more constructive definition for hacktivism, which doesn't include what you're using the word for. Here's the relative bit:

      Our definition of hacktivism is, "using technology to advance human rights through electronic media....." From the cDc's perspective, creation is good; destruction is bad. Hackers should promote the free flow of information, and causing anything to disrupt, prevent, or retard that flow is improper. For instance, cDc does not consider Web defacements or Denial of Service (DoS) attacks to be legitimate hacktivist actions.

      Your example of defacing a web page certainly doesn't fit into this definition. What you stated as noble (hacking through government censors) is what the article supports as hacktivism, and I agree with its classification as activism rather than civil disobedience. Regardless of the definition of hacktivism, activism and civil disobedience are well-defined and agreed upon.

      Civil disobedience requires putting yourself out in the open, blatantly violating the law and likely getting arrested. Activism is simply working hard to support a cause-- there's nothing amoral about it. You can be amorally acitivist just as much as you can be amorally civilly disobedient.

      The problem, as you've aptly demonstrated, is that certain words take on connotations that people don't want associated with them, and have to be wary of. While I've rarely seen activism associated with amoral (it's generally seen as highly moral), "hack" is one of those big bad words in the public eye. Calling someone a hacktivist will likely have most of the world thinking they're some evil guy who steals their credit card numbers from Amazon and uses them to buy guns for guerrillas.
      • Civil disobedience requires putting yourself out in the open, blatantly violating the law and likely getting arrested.

        If you go by the commonly bastardized version of Civil Disobedience used to justify various forms of activism. The term was really coined though by Henry David Thoreau in his essay, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" and can be summarized best by the following passage:
        If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth, certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring or a pulley or a rope or a crank exclusively for its own use, perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will be worse than the evil. But if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another then I say break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I must do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.
        Civil Disobedience is about maintaining both order and individual autonomy in a state. Do not confuse civil disobedience with other forms of protest (such as satya agraha, or truth force) where violations of the law are justified in that "the ends justify the means."

        Civil Disobedience comes into play only when an individual is trying to preserve his moral beliefs. Non-violent protests are not examples of civil disobedience.
        • BTW: As far as the whole "open, blantantly" thing is concerned, Thoreau's great act of Civil Disobedience was far from any of these.

          He came into town one day to pick up his shoes that were being repaired. The town tax-collector asked him to pay his poll-tax which he had no paid in 6 years. He refused because he wished to refuse allegiance to a state that would wage an immoral war against Mexico and keep 6 million of its citizens in the bondage of slavery. So, the tax-collector threw him in jail. He sat in jail quietly overnight, was released in the morning, got his shoes, and went back into the woods.

          There was no great public event, or grand protest. He simply refused to obey a law that he felt would cause him to violate his morality, took the punishment for it, and went about his business.

          That is Civil Disobedience.
  • China, rant. (Score:3, Informative)

    by surfcow ( 169572 ) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:11PM (#3376837) Homepage
    Re: China...

    If I said I could *quadruple* the living standard of the poorest 20% of the globe in less than 3 decades, would you laugh? If I really did it, might you be impressed?

    The Chinese govt did just that between 1972 and 2000. Quadrupled the average income of the nation from about $800 to $3,600. Without spilling buckets of blood (see Stalin, Mao South America). ch.html

    Yep, their govt is corrupt from stem to stern, a true cleptocracy. But it is undergoing change much more rapidly than gov't in the west, (which are selling their children's health and souls to big corporations).

    Can you really claim they the Chinese persecution is worse that the US war on drugs? Or the Israeli's treatment of the Palestinians? Or the US in central America?

    Don't fight them, wait, watch, keep perspective. Change is happening.

    The Oxblood essay is kind, progressive and well intentioned. But if you want to make a huge change in people's lives, stop playing in the
    Internet, go where help is needed and pick up a shovel. Or sign a check to feed a starving kid. Or help develop a better strain of rice. Or ...

    It's easy to be Robbin Hood. High-profile heroics is more fun than the hard work, but doesn't feed more people. Which, oddly enough, is
    what the chinese govt has been doing with amazing success.

    rant over,
    • About that rice...

      You might want to ask yourself whether selling a monoculture to the Third World to replace indigenous crops is really a good thing.

      You might want to ask yourself what kind of pesticide, fertilizer etc. support these high yield first world crops need in order to grow.

      You might want to ask yourself how many people you're ready to kill in your efforts to save them from having third-world level food supplies, which they generally do have.

      You might want to read what this Indian scientist has to say [] on the matter. IP-wary slashdotters will be particularly interested as, in her talk, she covers her experience of an American company patenting an indigenous crop of her valley, Basmati rice, which grew in India for centuries. Reading her is amazing, she is so familiar with the intimate details of how 'globalization' is screwing India and destroying their economy. And well she should as she lives in India- but it behooves the rest of us to have SOME clue as well, or we'll just parrot off what we're told to believe, even if it kills people.

      Sorry. But I've never been able to forget the reality of that 'better strain of rice' meme once I got a clue about it.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.