Oxblood Ruffin

Hacktivism: From Here to There

The current controversy regarding WikiLeaks and the attacks against the organizations that have opposed the group has sparked a large and complex conversation about the meanings of free speech, freedom of the press and online activism. As new as all of this may seem to some, this is by no means the first time these issues have been brought to the fore. The term “hacktivism”, which is being thrown around quite a bit in the current discussion, was first coined nearly 15 years ago by a member of the venerable Cult of the Dead Cow hacking think tank. Oxblood Ruffin, one of the cDc’s members, presented the following paper on the origins of hacktivism and what it is and is not at Yale Law School in 2004. It holds a lot of lessons that apply in the current climate of hyperbole and rhetoric.