Jillian York on hacktivism

The director of international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation talks about the ethics and motivations of hacktivism.

The motivations and ethics of hacktivism can often differ in democracies and autocratic regimes, says Jillian York, director of international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. York says that hacktivism can seem less legitimate in a democracy where individual have many paths of protest compared to a country such as Syria where “you’re playing a dirty game”. She notes that when you have other means of protesting, hacktivism can seem “juvenile and the quickest means to an end but not necessarily the most effective”. York adds that the anonymity of these groups has resulted in bolstering the case made by politicians and policymakers for a real names to be used on the internet.

Image: The flag of the hacker group Anonymous (photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images).

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford. www.freespeechdebate.ox.ac.uk

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