Hack + Activism = HacktivismDate: April 28, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
A group of activists of the University of Toronto in Canada came out with an initiative named OpenNet, the purpose of which was to counteract governmental censorship on the Internet. Former hacker, now professor of political science in Toronto University, Ron Deibert led this group.
"Traditionally, the term [hacker] was associated with someone who is interested in opening up their technology, understanding how it works, not accepting something shrink-wrapped," he said.
"And to me, that's not just a hobby or something that geeks do, that's actually a skill that is fundamental to a liberal, democratic society.
"Citizens can't just accept technology at face value. They need to open the lid, so to speak, understand how it works, beneath the surface," he explained.
Prof Deibert's belief that computer science can aid civic activism led him to establish the Citizen Lab in 2001.
"What I wanted to do was create a hothouse environment, where I could bring together researchers, students, in different disciplines - computer science, political science - in one setting where they could feed off each other, complement each other's specialties.
"I like to think of this area as 'hacktivism', the combination of hacking in the traditional sense of the term, and social and political activism."
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