Sociology Index

Electronic Civil Disobedience

Social Activism, Computerized Activism

The terms Electronic Civil Disobedienc and Hacktivism date back to 1998. Electronic civil disobedience makes use of Internet to protest. Electronic civil disobedience is civil disobedience in which protesters use information technology to carry out their protests. Electronic civil disobedience is another option for digital resistance. A Net based affinity group called the Electronic Disturbance Theater pushed and agitated for new experimentation with electronic civil disobedience actions aimed mostly at the Mexican government. In the spring of 1998, a young British hacker known as "JF" accessed about 300 web sites and placed anti-nuclear text and imagery. He entered, changed and added HTML code.

Taken together we may consider both the more symbolic electronic civil disobedience actions and the more tangible hacktivist events under the rubric of extraparliamentarian direct action Net politics, where extraparliamentarian is taken to mean politics other than electoral or party politics, primarily the grassroots politics of social movement. Acting in the tradition of non-violent direct action and civil disobedience, proponents of Electronic Civil Disobedience are borrowing the tactics of trespass and blockade. Electronic Civil Disobedience, as a form of mass decentered electronic direct action, utilizes virtual blockades and virtual sit-ins. Unlike the participant in a traditional civil disobedience action, an Electronic Civil Disobedience actor can participate in virtual blockades and sit-ins from home, from work, from the university, or from other points of access to the Net.

Electronic Civil Disobedience and the World Wide Web of Hacktivism:
A Mapping of Extraparliamentarian Direct Action Net Politics. Stefan Wray.
What this paper attempts to do is examine these emerging trends from a slightly wider angled lens. This paper puts forth five portals for consideration: computerized activism, grassroots infowar, electronic civil disobedience, politicized hacking, and resistance to future war.

Meikle G (2008) Electronic Civil Disobedience and Symbolic Power. In: Karatzogianni A (ed.). Cyber-conflict and Global Politics. Contemporary Security Studies, London: Routledge.

Stefan Wray, "On Electronic Civil Disobedience," Peace Review 11, no. 1, (1999), forthcoming; Electronic Civil Disobedience archive 1998.

Stefan Wray, "Paris Salon or Boston Tea Party? Recasting Electronic Democracy, A View from Amsterdam," Electronic Civil Disobedience archive 1998.

Stefan Wray, "Towards Bottom-Up Information Warfare: Theory and Practice: Version 1.0," Electronic Civil Disobedience Archive 1998 12. Stefan Wray, "The Drug War and Information Warfare in Mexico," Masters Thesis, Univ. of Texas at Austin, Electronic Civil Disobedience Archive 1997.

Brett Stalbaum, "The Zapatista Tactical FloodNet," Electronic Civil Disobedience Web Page 1998.

"Mexico rebel supporters hack government home page," Reuters, 4 February 1998; Same in Electronic Civil Disobedience.