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The Hacktivists

Rebellion can even be found in virtual space, without ever leaving one's bedroom.


As online shopping, snooping, and socializing gradually reduce us to a nation of shut-ins, the Hacktivists are bent on showing how rebellion can even be found in virtual space, without ever leaving one's bedroom.The media has lately found the Google Bomb the most newsworthy act of online disobedience. Google the words "miserable failure," for example, and the first link is to George W. Bush's official biography page. Google "Santorum" and you'll get sex columnist Dan Savage's sophomoric attempt to turn the Pennsylvania Senator's last name into a slang term for a byproduct of anal sex. Google Bombing is possible through the organized manipulation of Google's PageRank system. The more web publishers who link "elephantiasis" to "GOP," the higher the Republican National Committee's website will appear in the search results for "elephantiasis," whether or not the two terms actually have anything to do with one another. This may seem like preaching to the choir, but some political operatives say Google Bombing could tilt elections by boosting the rank of certain news articles the night before Election Day. Also of interest is the Institute for Applied Autonomy's GraffitiWriter and StreetWriter robots, remote-controlled protest units that spray text messages onto the street sort of like a printer on wheels. The IAA has also devised a friendly-looking "propaganda robot" that claims to "capitalize on the aesthetics of cuteness" to hand out pamphlets more effectively than your run-of-the-mill Birkenstocked activist.
For example: GREY TUESDAYOn Tuesday, February 24, 2004, the old civil disobedience met the new creative disobedience as music fans around the world asserted their inalienable right to download Danger Mouse's Grey Album-a mash-up of the instrumental tracks of the Beatles' White Album and the vocals from Jay-Z's Black Album-copyright be damned. More than one million individual tracks were downloaded, despite music label EMI's assertion that sampling even the smallest sliver of the White Album was intellectual property theft.
Here's a Tip: Make a RecordMake sure you record your bravery for posterity-and for the blogs! Post digital files to websites and email them to friends. The more people who can be energized by your example, the better. Just look out for Big Brother.
Risk: 4Cost: 5P.R.: 7Cred: 6Coolness Factor: 3.5
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