Civil Disobedience Through Social Media
Civil disobedience has been a significant part of our famous world history, but with all the advances in technology and social media, it has taken a whole new direction. Since society’s transition into social media, all forms of political activism and protest are able to be formed through use of the Internet by means of petitions, fundraisers, mass letter-writing and call-in campaigns to street marches, picket lines, sit-ins, and occupations, plus many newly developed techniques.
The term “civil disobedience” generally makes people think of Rosa Parks or Mohandas Gandhi protesting for civil rights and peace. They also associate it with being dangerously public and they remember how often it puts people at risk of arrest. The awesome way civil disobedience, or cyber civil disobedience, methods have been transforming is that people can come together to plan and protest behind closed doors in the privacy of their own homes and without having to put their bodies on the line.
The ways people can now take action online are separated into three categories of “disruption,” “information distribution” and “infrastructure.”
Disruption tactics, as you can imagine, aim to interrupt peoples’ flow of information and usually feed them alternative information, such as “Website defacements.” This is when a group or individual takes over a Website and replaces much of its content with their own propaganda to convince the user of their opinions.
Information distribution focuses on releasing secret information about a person or organization in protest to their actions or beliefs. The most famous case of information distribution in recent history is Wikileaks. The main goal is to put injustices out for public view, and cause more people to go against whatever is being protested.
The idea behind infrastructure in terms of online civil disobedience is replacing systems that have been compromised in order to get people off of them. An example would be if the government began spying on the activities of a Website. Users of the site who were not okay with this would create ways to make it harder for them to spy, or they would create a different site and stop using the compromised one.
These new approaches have been very prominent in all cultures and wouldn’t be possible without the many skills of hackers. The idea behind it all is to spread important information to people who need to know. When used for good, it aims to stop negative forces from having too much control. When used for bad, it may prevent people from getting information they need, or feed them untrue information.
What do you think this means for politics and for global issues? Is this movement into technology and social media good or bad?
Sauter, Molly. “The Future of Civil Disobedience Online.” Io9 – We Come from the Future. N.p., 17 June 2013. Web.
27 Oct. 2013. <http://io9.com/the-future-of-civil-disobedience-online-512193648>.
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