Hacktivism: A Week of Electronic Disruption during the Republican National Convention

Topic(s): civil disobedience | Comments Off on Hacktivism: A Week of Electronic Disruption during the Republican National Convention

Date/Time: 05/09/2004 12:00 am

Hacktivism: A Week of Electronic Disruption during the Republican National
Hacktivists have launched a campaign of electronic civil disobedience to
coincide with the demonstrations against the Republican National
Convention. Joining millions of protesters who took to the streets of New
York to say no to the Bush agenda, hacktivists have taken to the net to
explore a new medium of protest: the internet. Various tactics include
staging financial disruption against major credit card corporations,
disrupting various right-wing fascist groups, and an electronic sit- in
against Republican websites.
Credit card numbers stolen from major news corporations have been used by
anti-RNC hacktivists to make $2600 in donations to various humantarian
and civil rights organizations. In a statement posted to the NYC
Independent Media Center, the hacktivists declared “either the credit
card corporations are going to have to spend tens of thousands of dollars
in lawyer and investigation fees to track down and retrieve a mere few
hundred dollars per account, or these humanitarian organizations are
going to get their donations. We’ll have to see whether Corporate America
is heartless enough to take money away from hungry children, AIDS victims
and the homeless and give it straight to law enforcement, attorneys and
the banks”. The hacktivists have claimed that they have hundreds of
additional credit card numbers spread out over an underground network of
hackers and will continue to make $2600 in donations a month until all
military troops are pulled out of Iraq.
A right-wing fascist organization known as ProtestWarrior was also hacked
and defaced a week before the convention began. In a statement condemning
the group’s defense of the occupation of Iraq and support for the Bush
agenda, the hacktivists spoke, “by infiltrating and crashing legal,
peaceful assemblies, the ProtestWarriors are fighting against the
democratic process while claiming to uphold the ‘core values of this
country'”. The cell/home phone numbers, names, addresses, and passwords
of the site’s lead organizers along with the email addresses of all
ProtestWarrior members were posted to the site and emailed out to every
member. Major components of their website remained down for the remainder
of the day.
The hacktivists have also staged a mainstream electronic sit-in on various
Republican websites during the convention. In a document sent to
thousands of hackers, activists, press people and email lists, the group
provided the means to disrupt Republican webservers, email accounts,
phone and fax systems. These actions were joined by the Electronic
Disturbance Theatre, who have launched similar successful actions against
the World Economic Forum, the Mexican Surpeme Court, and more. The flood
scripts allowed users to combine their bandwidth to overload RNC servers
with so much traffic that it would be unable to serve any more requests.
Although the RNC websites remained online for the majority of the
convention, many users along with web monitoring company AlertSite have
reported periods of slowdown and complete disruption on September 2nd as
George W. Bush was nominated as the presidential candidate for the
Republican Party.
Hacktivists are defending the attacks on right-wing and corporate systems
as a legitimate protest tactic. “When the machinery of law is working
towards acts of injustice, then the people have not only the right but the
duty to break the law to combat tyranny and oppression”. Following in the
footsteps of Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Jefferson and other famous
revolutionaries, these hacktivists are exploring the internet as a new
medium of civil disobedience. “Electronic civil disobedience does not
cause any physical damage to people or property: it is merely the shifting
of data around in such a manner as to mock or disrupt the injustices of
the corporate machine”.
Through the redistribution of wealth to charities, disruption of
right-wing fascist groups, and flooding Republican websites and
communication systems, this sort of non-violent electronic civil
disobedience is setting new standards for online protests.
** distribute widely **
The campaign website and all email addresses have been knocked offline,
but it will not erase the memories of what has happened.
For press inquiries, email all of the following addresses(: