Cyber Activism includes political discussions, the gathering and distribution of data, the
publication of ideas, the organisation of electronic petitions, the exercise of some
pressure on decision makers and the co-ordination of actions that take place in the real
world. In this way the net was used for the organisation of the anti-globalisation actions in
Hacktivism disturbs the working of the net. Then the activists sometimes have to cross the
boundaries of the laws. But when you want to achieve something you must not be limited in
your actions by the boundaries which are drawn by those people you want to attack.
Hacktivism includes virtual sit-ins and blockades, automated e-mail bombs, the destruction
of web-sites, the invasion of computer systems and the use of computer viruses. It is used
in the cyberwar between Israelis and Palestinians.
Cyberterrorism wants to wreck an electronic system. Even innocent people can be killed by
this kind of action. When someone breaks into the computer of the air traffic controllers
aeroplanes can collide with each other.
This last kind of action does not have my sympathy though I can imagine that desperate
activists in certain hotspots in the Third World will sometimes use such drastic revenge
All these actions are directed at institutions and responsible persons are hardly touched.
They can continue their comfortable life while in the mean time they take important
decisions that can be very harmful for third persons.
Joost van Steenis (January 13 2001)