This New Yorker article was vital to my understanding of Wiki Leaks, As a media student Wiki Leaks is something that has always been discussed but also something I have generally avoided when choosing topics for further research as it just seems to complicated and conspiracy theory like for me to get truly interested.
What astounded me was the efforts gone to keep the collateral murder video online once it was publicly known. The use of multiple servers across the world and mirror sites, all running off donations.
While hackers work anonymously and wiki leak largely works off this anonymity, the need to give the hackivism a face is quite important. Wiki leaks gained major attention with the release of the Collateral Murder video. And with that, Julian Assange became a household name.
“Under the studio lights, he can seem—with his spectral white hair, pallid skin, cool eyes, and expansive
forehead— like a rail-thin being who has rocketed to Earth to deliver humanity some hidden truth.
This impression is magnified by his rigid demeanor and his baritone voice, which he deploys slowly,
at low volume.”
This description from the New Yorker article shows how important image can be, even in hacktivism which is a totally online operation.
Whistle blowing and hactivism are illegal activities. However, it is certainly true that bringing things, like the collateral murder video to light is important and hugely beneficial in maintaining and developing a society of freedom and free speech.
Perspective is hugely important when it comes to issues of hacktivism. This cartoon sums up how little damage hackers see themselves as causing. In the real world, as opposed to the virtual world, taking something because you do not want to pay for it is illegal, and tangibly so. The lack of tangibility is, I think, what makes hacking seem so harmless.