One of the sections of the Meikle reading that I found particularly interesting was when he discussed the hegemonic and ideological shift in the meaning of hacking. “Hacking was about improving systems rather than crashing them; about sharing information rather than stealing or changing it. The early hackers made computer breakthroughs, not break-ins.” (164) But this does not fit the depiction I feel we have today towards ‘hackers’. And that is because the government and media purposefully changed the way we view hacking to assert control.

The criminalization of hacking took place in the courts. But it needed the demonization of hacking, which took place in the media; on the one hand, through fictional depictions of hacker activity, particularly in Hollywood movies such as War Games, where a high school student almost starts World War III from his suburban bedroom… A moral panic, like that over hackers, is a moment when this process bubbles up to the surface of the media. The key thing to a moral panic is that it presents ‘us’ as being under some kind of threat from ‘them’.” (164-165)

This is just another example of the hegemonic power of the media. People were not happy with the hacktivism so through media we were fed these negative images of hacking as a scare tactic. Now we have a very negative and malicious connotation when we speak or think about hacking. A connotation that is stripped from what the original movement was about. I think that this was one of the most enlightening things in this chapter.


About alexamuniz

Media Studies major at Scripps College '16.

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