In Graham Mielke’s piece on Hack Attacks, I was struck most by the simple nature of activist hacking. The brilliance of DDoS’ing a site, or using particular URLs to communicate 504 errors are great examples of the subversive forms that manipulate existing technology. “Hacking” in a more destructive or invasive way (ie, changing data on a site or within an organization) is prohibitously difficult, and this provides a more straightforward alternative, reflecting Mielke’s definition of “tactical media.” Tactical media, as Miekle puts it, is not about creating a better radio station or paper or TV channel, but rather, about the subverting those information sources by those who do not typically have access to producing them. This subversion draws us back to Guy DeBord’s detournment, wherein media is removed from its original context and put in another to create a new meaning. Similarly, the hackers of ®™ark alter the nature of (typically benign) user errors to send a message to users and owners of websites.

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