The Internet is abuzz with hacktivism talk today.
While many of us were watching electricity lose to Beyonce the Ravens lose to the 49ers, hacker group Anonymous carried out their Operation Last Resort: an attempt to force the government's hand in changing computer crime law. The hacker group has obtained and published bank account information to 4,000 American bank executives. While the passwords to the accounts are hashed (needing a key to decrypt the info), the data is certainly out there. The document can be found through a link with the subtitle: 'oops-we-did-it-again' though we doubt Britney Spears is responsible for the attack.
The news of this crack coincides with an in-depth piece on MIT's Technology Review on the subject of political activism online. Even though the actions take place in the digital world, the consequences are undeniably real. Just earlier this year Aaron Swartz, co-founder of Reddit and co-author of RSS, committed suicide at age 26. Swartz was charged with stealing 4.8 million documents on JSTOR. Some say the stress from the trial was the reason he committed suicide.
Anonymous' methods of forcing change certainly lands in a gray area. Though there are more positive efforts to protect one's internet rights. Alexis Ohanian, another founder of Reddit, has responded to injustice such as SOPA and PIPA and speaking out against net neutrality.
In short, we live in a nerd-run world. A Harvard drop-out became the youngest billionaire off of his coding skills. People like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates changed how we live through the advent of personal computers. I don't even need to explain how much of a boon the internet has been to the cat video industry (free cat videos, but still). It only makes sense the internet would greatly influence politics and justice. One can't help but think this is only the beginning.