Hacktivists: Foe – or Friend?

I wouldn’t want to be a Yahoo! employee today. According to CNN, the internet juggernaut recently lost control of 450,000 user passwords to a group of hackers. Perhaps more embarrassingly, the hackers posted all the stolen data online for the world to see. Their rationale?

“We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call, and not as a threat. There have been many security holes exploited in Web servers belonging to Yahoo! Inc. that have caused far greater damage than our disclosure. Please do not take them lightly.”

That’s from a quote on the website where the information could be found earlier today.

If this public-service-like decree sounds familiar to you, you’re probably recalling the string of cyber attacks launched by the “hacktvist” group Anonymous earlier this year. Anonymous, which bills its members as “defenders of the free internet,” claimed responsibility for several attacks in response to the proposed SOPA bill sitting before congress back in January. The group warned the law could lead to increase government censorship of online content, and joined forces with Google and Wikipedia to have it pulled.

Censorship is not something conservatives take lightly, but cyber-crime is a serious issue as well. While we want our passwords safe, it could be argued that publicly shaming companies like Yahoo! could do more good than harm by teaching other sites a lesson. After all, businesses are contractually obligated by privacy agreements to keep this data safe – and if January’s events mean anything, both they and the government are now wary of stepping on the common netizen.

So who’s really on our side?

The internet is the wild west, a frontier where dusty old issues like privacy and property rights twist together into a difficult-to-untangle tumbleweed. With no landmarks to reference and no borders to fall back on, we’ll have to decide for ourselves if hacktivist groups like Anonymous wear the white hats or the black ones.

Then again, perhaps they’ll always be gray.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in The Modern Conservative
One comment on “Hacktivists: Foe – or Friend?
  1. […] Claim to Have Romney Tax Returns by DYNAMOpolitics Remember how we were talking about hacktivism a while back? Well, it sure didn’t take long for that issue to pop up in this year’s […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: