Hacktivismo Declaration (2001)¶
July 4th, 2001
INTERNATIONAL BOOKBURNING IN PROGRESS
[July 4, 2001 - LUBBOCK, TX.] Free speech is under siege at the margins of the Internet. Quite a few countries are censoring access to the Web through DNS [Domain Name Service] filtering. This is a process whereby politically incorrect information is blocked by domain address – the name that appears before the dot com suffix. Others employ filtering which denies politically or sociallychallenging subject matter based on its content.
Hacktivismo and the CULT OF THE DEAD COW have decided that enough is too much. We are hackers and free speech advocates, and we are developing technologies to challenge state-sponsored censorship of the Internet.
Most countries use intimidation and filtering of one, kind or another including the Peoples Republic of China, Cuba, and many Islamic countries. Most claim to be blocking pornographic content. But the real reason is to prevent challenging content from spreading through repressive regimes. This includes information ranging from political opinion, “foreign” news, women’s issues, academic and scholarly works, religious information, information regarding ethnic groups in disfavor, news of human rights abuses, documents which present drugs in a positive light, and gay and lesbian content, among others.
The capriciousness of state-sanctioned censorship is wide-ranging.
- In Zambia, the government has attempted to censor information revealing their plans for constitutional referendums.
- In Mauritania – as in most countries –, owners of cybercafes are required to supply government intelligence agents with copies of e-mail sent or received at their establishments.
- Even less draconian governments, like Malaysia, have threatened web-publishers for violating their publishing licenses by publishing frequent updates: timely, relevant information is seen as a threat.
- South Korean’s national security law forbids South Koreans from having any contact – including contact over the Internet – with their North Korean neighbors.
- Sri Lanka threatened news sites with possible revocation of their licenses if coverage of a presidential election campaign was not partial to the party of the outgoing president.
The risks of accessing or disseminating information are often great.
- In Ukraine, a decapitated body found near the village of Tarachtcha is believed to be that of Georgiy Gongadze, founder and editor of an on-line newspaper critical of the authorities.
- In August, 1998, eighteen year old Turk Emre Ersoz was found guilty of “insulting the national police” in an Internet forum after participating in a demonstration that was violently suppressed by the police. His ISP provided the authorities with his address.
- Journalist Miroslav Filipovic has the dubious distinction of having been the first Journalist accused of spying because of articles published on the Internet – in this case detailing the abuses of certain Yugoslav army units in Kosovo.
We are sickened by these egregious violations of information and human rights. The liberal democracies have talked a far better game than they’ve played on access to information. But hackers are not willing to watch the custodians of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turn them into a mockery. We are willing to put our money where our mouth is.
Hacktivismo and the CULT OF THE DEAD COW are issuing the HACKTIVISMO DECLARATION as a declaration of outrage and a statement of intent. It is our Magna Carta for information rights. People have a right to reasonable access of otherwise lawfully published information.
If our leaders aren’t prepared to defend the Internet, we are.
The Hacktivismo Declaration¶
assertions of liberty in support of an uncensored internet
DEEPLY ALARMED that state-sponsored censorship of the Internet is rapidly spreading with the assistance of transnational corporations,
TAKING AS A BASIS the principles and purposes enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that states, Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers, and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that says,
Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
- For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
- For the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.
RECALLING that some member states of the United Nations have signed the ICCPR, or have ratified it in such a way as to prevent their citizens from using it in courts of law,
CONSIDERING that, such member states continue to willfully suppress wide-ranging access to lawfully published information on the Internet, despite the clear language of the ICCPR that freedom of expression exists in all media,
TAKING NOTE that transnational corporations continue to sell information technologies to the world’s most repressive regimes knowing full well that they will be used to track and control an already harried citizenry,
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that the Internet is fast becoming a method of repression rather than an instrument of liberation,
BEARING IN MIND that in some countries it is a crime to demand the right to access lawfully published information, and of other basic human rights,
RECALLING that member states of the United Nations have failed to press the world’s most egregious information rights violators to a higher standard,
MINDFUL that denying access to information could lead to spiritual, intellectual, and economic decline, the promotion of xenophobia and destabilization of international order,
CONCERNED that governments and transnationals are colluding to maintain the status quo,
DEEPLY ALARMED that world leaders have failed to address information rights issues directly and without equivocation,
RECOGNIZING the importance to fight against human rights abuses with respect to reasonable access to information on the Internet,
THEREFORE WE ARE CONVINCED that the international hacking community has a moral imperative to act, and we
- THAT FULL RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS INCLUDES THE LIBERTY OF FAIR AND REASONABLE ACCESS TO INFORMATION, WHETHER BY SHORTWAVE RADIO, AIR MAIL, SIMPLE TELEPHONY, THE GLOBAL INTERNET, OR OTHER MEDIA.
- THAT WE RECOGNIZE THE RIGHT OF GOVERNMENTS TO FORBID THE PUBLICATION OF PROPERLY CATEGORIZED STATE SECRETS, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, AND MATTERS RELATED TO PERSONAL PRIVACY AND PRIVILEDGE, AMONG OTHER ACCEPTED RESTRICTIONS. BUT WE OPPOSE THE USE OF STATE POWER TO CONTROL ACCESS TO THE WORKS OF CRITICS, INTELLECTUALS, ARTISTS, OR RELIGIOUS
- THAT STATE SPONSORED CENSORSHIP OF THE INTERNET ERODES PEACEFUL AND
CIVILIZED COEXISTENCE, AFFECTS THE EXERCISE OF DEMOCRACY, AND ENDANGERS THE SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONS.
- THAT STATE-SPONSORED CENSORSHIP OF THE INTERNET IS A SERIOUS FORM OF ORGANIZED AND SYSTEMATIC VIOLENCE AGAINST CITIZENS, IS INTENDED TO GENERATE CONFUSION AND XENOPHOPIA, AND IS A REPREHENSIBLE VIOLATION OF TRUST.
- THAT WE WILL STUDY WAYS AND MEANS OF CIRCUMVENTING STATE SPONSORED
CENSORSHIP OF THE INTERNET AND WILL IMPLEMENT TECHNOLOGIES TO CHALLENGE INFORMATION RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.
Issued July 4, 2001 by Hacktivismo and the CULT OF THE DEAD COW.