While this article discusses many things, the part that interests us in the activities of cyber activists (hacktivists) in Egypt. After the Internet was shut down in Egypt during the Arab Spring, hacktivists accessed the servers to restore Internet access, enabling protesters to plan and communicate again. They did the same in Tunisia. The key take away is, there’s a fine line between cyber-activism and cyber-terrorism, often depending on who the target is, and why.
This online journal article discusses how the Internet played a key role in leading to the Arab Spring. They discuss how, thanks to the anonymity of the Internet, the population was able to freely express their viewpoints without fear of censorship and reprisal, and circumvent systems put in place that would have normally silenced their legitimate voice. They also discuss, in depth, how this cyber-activism spread awareness through Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, through the use of political blogs.
Being an American, I take it for granted the amount of information I have available. If I want to know anything about an official or politician, or even someone like a professor, the information is readily available online. This isn’t the case elsewhere, and it certainly wasn’t the case in Egypt or Tunisia. However, thanks to the efforts of their “netizens”, awareness of public issues, and public problems, was able to spread faster than ever before. I never really gave much thought as to how information is disseminated, but without cyber-activists in Egypt and Tunisia, the Wikileaks articles, which helped trigger the Arab Spring, may never have reached such a wide audience as quickly as it did. I also take my individuality and voice for granted, because it’s something I’ve always had, and in that regard, the second article pointed out something interesting. The Internet, and the activist blogs established by Egyptians and Tunisians, gave everyone a voice, whether you were a man, a woman, rich, or poor, you could speak with your own voice, and be heard. And this, too, helped to pave the way towards revolution.