Hacktivism is the act of hacking, breaking into a computer system, for a politically or socially motivated purpose. The individual who performs an act of hacktivism is said to be a hacktivist. (Rouse, 2007)
Hackitism has been around for decades, starting with Marian Rejewski (Polish Mathematician) and Alan Turing during the Second World War with iterations of the enigma. This has created the foundation to what we know as hacktivism today, much like hackers, hacktivists use the same techniques to gain information by disrupting services and bring attention to social and political issues.
There are many cases where people have used hacktivism as a way to bring to light information that is being hidden to the public, the most known case would be that regarding Wikileaks and Edward Snowden. Former CIA employee Edward Snowden, leaked private government documents to the public, this case much like many others have sparked the debate over whether hacktivism is a criminal offence or not.
The debate on the topic takes two sides, one of which is against hacktivism, relaying it as an act that is damaging to the public as well as having the ability to cause harm. On the other side of the debate hacktivism is seen as a form of free speech, allowing those to use it as a form of protest against an organisation or government to spark change.
Anonymous has now become the face of hackivism has the icon has been used in various protest regarding different political and social situations. Hacktivism if done correctly and taken the precautions were needed can be effective and cause minimal harm, however, if done without care can cause serious backlash from other parties involved.