Technological advancement has transformed the manner in which people and organizations handle information. The enhanced access to cyberspace means that individuals can share data from various parts of the world as the use of internet has eased the extent of communication. However, this has resulted in numerous dynamics with regard to information technology whereby aspects of cybersecurity, hacking, and hacktivism have emerged. Cybersecurity has become an issue of global concern and there are several scenarios where personal information and commercial and government websites have been attacked, jeopardizing the privacy of internal data.
Social media has also increased exposure to acts such as identity theft and phishing as issues such as hacking continue to characterize the contemporary digital era. The advent of cyber acts like hacktivism is changing the scope of information technology as various entities are now manipulating computer systems to retrieve private information which is deemed essential in promoting positive socio-political change. Organizations need to initiate proper measures which include regular scanning of information systems to mitigate any vulnerability posed by the current increase in cyberspace threats.
While hacking is being used as a rampaging tool to advance various social and political interests through the cyberspace, the magnitude with which different entities in the society continue to suffer means that much needs to be done to warrant cybersecurity. According to Coleman, systematic surveillance has increased and the confidentiality of data for citizens and governments continue to be at risk due to snooping, necessitating ceaseless vulnerability assessments (2). Ideally, hacking is intrinsically immoral because it involves privacy intrusion without consent.
Consequently, there are more ethical actions that can be initiated to help cyber activists in their quest to attain the various information needed to steer a positive change in the society. The difference between hacking and hacktivism is that the former encompasses the unapproved access to computer systems belonging to other entities for selfish gains while the latter involves the effort to attain private information as a way of protest to steer social restraint. Cyber-activism has been regarded as a moral action in societies and likened to other forms of social disobedience which include street protests as its ultimate goal is to enhance the general well-being of citizens. However, the act may not be ethical just like hacking since situations whereby no detrimental facts are unearthed amount to the violation of privacy rights to citizens and organizations. As a result, hacktivism does not meet the conditions of legitimate acts of civil disobedience as it does not involve a legitimate act of free expression.
The most common hacktivists include groups such as the Anonymous and Wikileaks. Cyber-activism is spearheaded by protagonists who share similar ethical considerations and their major objective is to ensure that different entities only engage in activities that make life better-off for everyone (Ludlow). For an act to count as a genuine case of hacktivism and civil disobedience, the targeted party must be informed that random attempts are to be made to access private date for social use and a consent given. My position is that both hacking and hacktivism are immoral acts because they both trigger cyber-security issues among citizens and different agencies. Transparency may be used as a more effective moral tool in ensuring that organizations act responsibly to promote social welfare. This argument is based on the virtual approach ethical framework which once instilled would mean that entities do not have to conceal malice-intended information that would prompt hacktivists to manipulate their systems.
Overall, the enhanced internet activity stimulated by technological progression resulted in several cyber-related risks that have increased the exposure of personal and organizational information. While hackers spy on private data for malicious use, hacktivists have ensured that the facts garnered through snooping are used to steer a positive socio-political change. Both acts are immoral and should not be encouraged as they violate the privacy rights inscribed in the constitution given that consent is never granted and entities are compelled to incur hefty costs in their pursuit to assess the vulnerability of their systems and initiate protective measures.
- Coleman, Gabriella. “Anonymous in Context: The Politics and Power behind the Masks.” The Centre for International Governance and Innovation, 2013.
- Ludlow, Peter. “Wikileaks and Hacktivism Culture.” The Nation, 2010.