Tag Archives: mainstream

Hacking for a Cause

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What does it mean to be a hacker – someone who fights for civil liberties over the World Wide Web, through the means of showing mainstream users what the people with power, who are controlling what people consume, are hiding. In front of the computer, typing on a keyboard sits the cyber-activists bringing face to the issues a majority of people are unaware of.

Only recognizable by a mask, a group called Anonymous, stand for the freedom of information, promote decentralization of information and utilize the power of a group rather than the individual. Judging only by their ability to hack and not by age, race, sex and position, Anonymous stand united, with the power to hack large organizations the threat of anonymous is something to know of, shown by their slogan “Information is free, We are anonymous, We are legion, We do not forgive, We do not forget, Expect us”.

Being a “hacktivist” comes at its own risks – shown by this Northampton article, the event of hacking big businesses PayPal, MasterCard and Visa was seen as an illegal act and the people caught stood trial and jailed for “conspiring to impair the operation of computers”. Though people were caught, named and imprisoned, Anonymous still stands and continues to hack. Anyone can be Anonymous and represent what Anonymous represents. Anonymous is confined to a physical space or presence; they are everywhere and can be anyone.

While the extreme hacking of big businesses isn’t ideal for a lot of people there are ways to show support and understanding for what hacktivists are trying to represent.

F.A.T Lab is a group of hackers that want to make people aware of what they do and what is going on on the internet. By using popular culture, mixing and changing it to create Art, F.A.T Lab provides to impact the way people understand the power of the World Wide Web and understand its potential when limitations are not enforced.

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Would you like diversity with your agenda?

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Today, just like yesterday and the day before we have access to every type of media, television, radio, newspaper, even blogs – to get our need for news. However with the ability to get news anytime from any source, 24/7, is the ‘news’ actually news? When there is a story to tell about an incident is that what makes it news? Does the amount of people involve or the emotion evoked in the story make it news?

We are in an age where anything can be classified as news, it is not that, nothing would be worthy of being news but the fact that since we are a society that likes to know about our society we need to be catered for. This ‘need to know’ causes media outlets to get any story they can and to create news out of it. We have changed the meaning of news, our society has changed, our interests have changed, our ability to use technology has changed; an era of convergence has changed what causes news to be news.

With umpteen amount of media outlets for news it is a good idea for media moguls to diverse their interest in order to continue the expansion of their empire and audience. This expansion causes some issues, the limited freedom of expression – economic, cultural, social and political condition on the stories presented, with a concentration of owners, the variety of interests provided is also concentrated. Those that are employed usually have an agenda that reflects those of the employer, this causes the degree of news to be sud-standard, explained by Elizabeth Hart in ‘Media Ownership‘ (reading for Week 4).

The resulting action of contradicting the agenda the employer represents ends up with the simple result of “your effort is no longer needed”, which is the basic result of CBS ex-worker Dan Rather who reported news about then President George W. Bush avoiding going to Vietnam about his national guard duties. Which caused confusion about the evidence supporting the claim made by Dan Rather and the potential cover up by CBS to claim that there was no evidence.

The ‘sacking’ of Dan Rather caused news outlets around America to both question Dan Rather’s political outlook but also his integrity as a news presenter. He appeared on the American ABC’s The View, which gave Dan Rather the opportunity to voice his reasoning and understanding of what happened, and also his opinion on what the news has become. Dan Rather commented that his political stance was as an Independent, while his previous employer, CBS, is seen as having a Liberal bias.

The power to control the media allowed for such an event to happen, one could not just get away with freedom of speech on a news show which has a political agenda, regardless of experience in the field.

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When asking “does it matter who controls the media”, the answer is yes, it does matter. Where there is a need for news you are more likely to watch news that is aimed for the individual that has the same outlook as the company producing the news. The company knows who watches there programming and co-ordinates there scheduling and showing to emphasize their possible agenda. When does it become too much? When the diversity of what is on different media outlets is all the same, there is a need for diversity and a need for regulation. If I turn on the television and then the radio and they both produce the same conceived biased idea, I think it would be time to change who controls our media.