Hacktivisim is a ever growing sector within activism online, and it’s a practice that poses many moral questions for those partaking in it. Is it an ethical practice?
You may be aware of some hackers or hacking organisations, such as Wiki Leaks, Anonymous and Edward Snowden. There has been a large amount of debate around the activities of these three entities, as to whether they did the right thing by both their countries and the people that reside within them.
Wiki Leaks would have to be the most easily recognised, with head-honcho Julian Assange making it Primetime on Australia’s nightly news for his involvement with the Leak sharing juggernaut. Wikileaks and Julian Assange have become household names over the last few years for gaining access secret government information in questionable ways and sharing the information with the people of the world. Wikileaks clams that their goal is “to bring important news and information to the public”. In lay-mans terms, if they think something should be public information, they share it.
This is where the ethics of it all is really important. At first you might be thinking “Yeah! Fight the Power! We deserve to know! Blah blah blah” but we need to actually sit down and think – Who at Wikileaks is ‘qualified’ to decide if this information is public, and is that information more of a hindrance than a help? ie: Could the information being leaked lead to and easier to exploit government operation, or to arguments across borders leading to what could theoretically be World War Three?
“We are fearless in our efforts to get the unvarnished truth out to the public.” – WikiLeaks
Leaking information then, must be though about just like when you share information about anything with anyone. As stupid as it might sound, it almost equates to things as ridiculous as high school bullying. You can tell your friend that someone has said something mean about them and start an argument, or you can leave it and things will be just fine. What would you choose?