Hacktivism explained

Oxblood Ruffin, the spokesmodel for the hacker underground group, Cult of the Dead Cow, has a great interview in the current ish of Shift.

Essentially what we're interested in is preserving various internet rights and freedoms. Many of those are defined by documents. If you go to the Hacktivismo website, there's something called the Hacktivismo Declaration on there that's more or less inspired by things like the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. What's kind of interesting about the Universal Declaration of Human rights is that it's a declaration, which means it doesn't have any binding authority; it's like a feel-good document. But the ICCPR is a statute. It is binding. [Laughs] I don't know who's ever been taken to the Hague as a result of violating the terms, but it is actually an enforcable document.

Right now, I'm probably quoting that more and more. And interestingly enough, it's article nineteen of both of those documents that talks about what we call information rights -- the ability to access information, regardless of how that information might be transmitted, whether it's a newspaper on the internet or whatever. It's sort of an umbrella statement that covers all those things. We're specifically interested in maintaining the free flow of what we call lawfully-published content. Information could mean anything, it could mean your bank statements or it could mean kiddie porn or it could mean national security secrets. That's not the information we're talking about. We're essentially talking about any publicly available information on the web, that's available throughout the liberal democracies. So essentially anything we see, we think anybody else should have the right to see as well. Lots of governments disagree with this and that's why they have internet censorship.

Do you worry about the fact that if you provide people with these types of tools in countries that don't have the same democratic ideals or the same ideas of free speech, that the people who use your software might actually be harmed or imprisoned?

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(Thanks, Mark!)