Hacktivist Hypocrisy and First Amendment Rights

Monday, November 07, 2011

Jim Palazzolo

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Recently it was reported that a hacktivist group, affiliated with the larger hacktivist organization Anonymous, was targeting the social network Facebook. 

Although the main body of the group rejected the idea as a hoax, some individuals outside of the main cell seriously considered a DDoS attack against the network.  One related article can be found here:  http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2122745/anonymous-rejects-5th-november-attack-facebook

However, doing a search on "Anonymous 5th of November" turns up other articles pointing to attacks against organizations such as Fox News for their use of what could be considered inflammatory language (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/24/anonymous-vows-to-destroy-fox-news-website-on-nov-5th/).

Interestingly enough hacktivist groups typically attempt to champion such things as things as privacy and freedom of speech, but seem to have no issue with denying other people the same freedoms. 

However, who are these individuals to decide who has the right to speak and who does not? It seems almost hypocritical to attack those whom you do not agree with, and silence their public opinions. 

For freedom fighters, it seems as if they have been lost within their own cause; not seeing that they are affecting other individuals along the way.  For example:  shutting down Facebook. 

What if there was a charitable organizing planning an event through Facebook, but no longer has the ability to finalize or continue to plan due to a forced outage.  This charity has an opinion, one in which they feel strongly enough to act upon as a group.   

Are hacktivist opinions at that point more important than those of other individual(s)?  Do they not see that through their actions they are limiting others freedoms of speech?

Although I can sympathize with those that are supporting causes that have seemingly good intentions, it is my opinion that there must be a better way to make your point heard. 

By removing other's rights to free speech implies an air of superiority that can become dangerous indeed, and eventually turn public opinion against those leading the cause.

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