Sol’s presentation about extremism in animal rights activism was really interesting. I learnt a lot about the extreme steps taken by the animal rights activists and how they have lowered the effectiveness of the overall movement. It was really interesting to learn about the internal divisions between animal rights groups and how that needs to addressed in order to increase people’s awareness about cruel situations animal live in.
I really enjoyed David’s presentation about how money has influences the politics in the United States. Coming from India, I always thought that my country is the only democracy with a corrupted and a rigged political system. But it was really interesting to know that the situation here in the USA is not extremely different. This made me think about how regardless of the location, money and power has been the reason why people have resorted to unethical practices.
All presentations have been extremely informative, and it was great to learn more about the problems different activist groups face while challenging some of the existing policies! Before this class, I hadn’t thought much about how social issues are addressed and how such rallies have influenced and transformed the society we live in.
Research Question: How has the media played a role in promoting the efforts made by various hacktivist groups who reveal sensitive information about big corporations and large governmental institutions? How has this image of hacktivist groups changed the way people think about socially motivated cyber attacks?
Thesis moment: The American media has continuously been degrading and questioning the efforts made by various hackers and hacktivist groups. I would be looking into the language which is used by popular media sources and various governmental representatives in the United States. I would be analyzing the reason behind such degrading comments and how big corporations have played a major role in changing the way hacktivist groups are perceived in this country after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
a) Ethics of Hacktivist groups: I would first be looking into the various corporations/ institutions most of the hacktivist groups target and how these corporations/ institutions respond to such attacks. These corporations/ institutions often resort to portraying these hackers as criminals in front of the people in order to reduce the effect of their accusations.
b) Media discourse on hacktivism: The media discourse on hacktivism has transformed a lot over the past couple of years more so after the attacks on 9/11. This has mainly been due to the increased pressure by big corporations who provide business to most of the bigger media sources (through advertisements).
I would also be looking into the various ways we can reconcile the differences between hacktivist groups and governmental bodies and achieve a smoother transition of information and more transparency from the government.
Infographic link :
- Research Proposal: A common feedback I received on my research proposal was that my thesis wasn’t structured well and was too broad to be considered as a research topic. Based on this feedback, I attempted to direct my research topic towards one question rather than focussing on the different aspects of hacktivism.
- Infographic: The infographic really helped me to structure my ideas and present them in a visually interactive way to my classmates. I attempted to sum the history of hacktivism and link the way media covers hacktivism in the United States with how people receive news related to hacktivism in the country. A feedback I received was that my infographic didn’t really convey the nuances of my topic, which I believe now has been tackled by the data I have included in it.
How has the rhetoric used by the media and various government representatives shaped the popular consensus about hacktivist groups and whistleblowers? What is the need for this negative portrayal by the media for hacktivism and what are some ways we can address this problem?
With the rise of social media and the use of the internet, activism has now become more digitized. The movement is slowly depending on media sources on the internet to gain more popularity and mass support. I am interested in knowing more about the involvement of the internet that has shaped up the rhetoric of activism and changed the way socially motivated movements are heard now. I would be exploring the future of activism and following are 5 topics I have narrowed down my research to:
- Social media and activism: With more than 1.5 billion active Facebook users, social media has become an integral part of advertising and making your voice heard. The power and reach of social media have made many popular social movements dependent on using this platform to further their cause and at the same time accept suggestions from people all over the globe. The validation and acceptance on various social platforms have positively affected activism in the 21st century. Thesis: How much should a movement depend on social media to make sure it’s message reaches the higher authorities?
- Effectiveness of Contemporary Activism: Contemporary activism mostly uses social media and the internet to further it’s cause. With the rise of technology, activism has seen major changes in the last 2 decades. But due to easy access of a strong platform, many movements that started off from the internet are now struggling to find a solid background to support their transition into the real world. Talking about social issues on the internet rather than getting in a group and actively protesting on the streets/ offices is slowly killing the very essence of an activist movement. Thesis: How much of this contemporary style of protesting would actually be effective?
- Effects of mass involvement on the internet: Mass involvement and freedom of speech on the internet has resulted in various conflicts and “trolling” on various social media websites. Seeing the mass getting involved in particular issue and plastering it all over someone’s news feed sometimes has a reverse effect; making people sick of seeing the same topic everyday. This severely reduces the legitimacy and seriousness of an issue which eventually reduces the interest people have in that movement. The constant degradation of the feminist movement on the internet is one such example of this. Thesis: What effect does mass involvement have on an activist movement?
- Activism and media: The media has always been extremely important in making sure the effects of a movement are heard amongst the people. Activist movements have heavily relied on media coverage to make sure that their movement spreads amongst people. Thesis: With the rise in the use of the internet to advertise their movement, how important is the media now given the change in the dynamics of activism?
- Rhetoric of Hacktivism (my topic): Hacktivism came from the words “hacking” and “activism” and is a form of activism in which personal information is used subversively to further a political movement. Hacktivism is considered to be ethically wrong despite the effect it generates for a politically inclined movement. I am really interested to research more about the rhetoric of hacktivism and how the media influences the perceived image of this movement amongst the people. I would also be researching about the political influence on hacktivism and the risk associated with indulging in such a practice by analyzing the Edward Snowden case.
The Australian government describes multiculturalism as a “.. term which recognizes and celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity. It accepts and respects the right of all Australians to express and share their individual cultural heritage…” (Jordan 142). This, however means that the government respects all opinions regardless of whether they are hurtful to the sentiments of any other race or community. Although this idea promotes social inclusion and acceptance of differences, it is highly politically influenced because it hides the fact that some ideas of different communities might inherently be wrong. According to Tim Jordan, author of Activism!: Direct Action, Hacktivism, and the Future of Society, this is the place where activism fails in a democracy, a form of government which promotes free flow of thought and opposition. According to Jordan, diversity of wealth is not a social difference, but rather a result of exploitation of the lower classes. A democracy accepts this social difference as a part of the society and seems to respect it undermining the activist movements which call out the exploitative nature of these wealthy groups.
It is really interesting to read such a fresh take on the relation between a democratic government and an activist group. Although a democracy might not be this liberal in accepting the differences that exist in a society, a lot of popular movements do seem to be discouraged by this acceptance by the government. But ultimately since movements as well as governing bodies are operated by the people of a community, if a certain opinion of a community is disrespectful to the another group in the same community, it would certainly be opposed by the people regardless of whether it is defined to be politically correct or not.