The first part of the 21st Century will likely go down in history as the era when ethical hackers opened governments. The line of transparency is moving by force. The twitter page for Wikileaks demonstrates this ethos through its motto “we open governments” and its location to be “everywhere”. Ethical Hacking is the non-violent use of a technology in pursuit of a cause, political or otherwise which is often legally and morally ambiguous. Hacktivism, is a form of ethical hacking, and is also a form of civil rights activism in the digital age. In principle hacktivists believe in two general but spirited principles: respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms including freedom of expression and personal privacy, and the responsibility of government to be open, transparent and fully accountable to the public. In practice, however, hacktivists are as diverse in their backgrounds as they are in their agendas.
How courts and governments will deal with hacking attempts which operate in a grey zone of the law and where different ethical views collide remains to be seen, as there are no exceptions to the cybercrime/computer crime provisions for security research or public interest in most jurisdictions around the globe. It will be equally difficult to determine how civil rights will apply to hacktivism.
A fundamental discussion key societal questions.