UM hack - feckless activism is not justified

S Thayaparan

Modified 21 Oct 2019, 3:51 am

COMMENT | “Propensities and principles must be reconciled by some means.”― Charlotte Brontë, 'Jane Eyre'

As anyone at Malaysiakini would tell you, I am the least computer savvy person in Malaysia. This is why the recent UM website hack is terrifying to me. Any hack is terrifying to me. The most troubling aspect of any hack is the invasion of privacy. This pales in comparison to the despondency and lack of trust which settles in after you have been through the wringer attempting to rectify the situation.

If you are like me, someone who has very little knowledge of how these things work, the loss of privacy and the subsequent scramble to “protect” whatever information is out there, the bureaucratic hassle of setting things in order becomes an ordeal. It is much worse if you are older and have to rely on more tech savvy people to help you navigate the aftermath of your personal information getting out there.

There are a couple of issues I want to unpack about this hack on UM. Over the years writing for Malaysiakini I have made friends with numerous people who consider hacking a form of activism or a business endeavor. They send me articles on ethics, famous hacks and, most interesting for me, chat group conversation about the various communities who sometimes have agendas, but more often believe in some form of anarchy...

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