ricardo dominguez on 13 Mar 2001 19:03:28 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Hackers: the political heroes of cyberspace - reply by Paul Mobbs

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Mobbs" <mobbsey@gn.apc.org>
To: "ricardo dominguez" <rdom@thing.net>
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 1:24 PM

> I actually couldn't give a damn for media or book deals (I find the first
> of these two tedious to deal with, and the last one completely unavailable
> to people like me, at least in the UK). I'm not an academic - I've been a
> community activist for nearly 20 years, but one who also happens to have
> been using computers as part of that work for around 15 years. And with
> regards to 'hacktivism starting in 1998', what I said was that it wasn't
> until 1996 to 1998 that there was a 'critical mass' of the public online
> make a broad-based online protest a viable and truely effective
> proposition. People have been actually hacking code (albeit hardwired
> since the Colossus (one of those wonderful British inventions, later
> appropriated by the USA).
> I just want to have the open debate. I think people in the UK are now
> waking up to this in retrospect.
> Unless we have the open debate so the public can understand the issues
> involved in hacktivism then all hackers will be subjected to the same
> bullshit we have had in the UK over the past year. The only reason Jack
> Straw, the Home Secretary, was able to get the Terrorism and RIP
> legislation through Parliament was because nobody knew about the issues.
> Consequently they just believed the bullshit he peddled them about the
> risks to the public from people bent on 'disrupting electonic networks'.
> Now suddenly we can be classed as terrorists for planning online protest
> action.
> Unless the public understand hacking/hacktivism they're going to regard
> hackers/hacktivists as a 'breed apart'. Consequently, hackers will always
> be fair game for knocking down in the media. It's then only a matter of
> time until politcians use the law to criminalise us. Attacking hacktivists
> with new laws is SO EASY. The majority of the public are not hackers. So a
> politician can talk up the "menace", and then make new repressive laws on
> the use of electronic.
> The towers many hackers sit in may be made of silicon and plastic rather
> than ivory, but they're just as remote to the general public. I have no
> problem with some people wanting to sit in remote towers and hack code,
> often because it produces things that the rest of us can use beneficially.
> But I think hacker culture is completely screwed up if it thinks it can
> live in a little reality construct of its own making.
> Unless you engage the general public about the use of electronic networks
> for protest, and the development of civil rights around the use if IT and
> networks, then there's a lot of vested interest out there who will give
> politicians all the excuses they need to criminalise us. I think you only
> have to look at how the new RIP and Terrorism laaws enacte din Britian in
> 2000 are now being proposed, using Britain as an example, in Australia,
> Japan, Korea and some European countries (even the Germans are talking
> about this now in their Justice ministry).
> <RANT>
> It's very easy to be radical in order to be a radical. Being radical for a
> purpose takes commitment, and a willingness to pay for your screw ups. I
> think a lot of people involved in hacktivism need to decide which of these
> chat rooms they're in.
> </RANT>
> Peace 'n' love
> P.

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