Today we have access to vast amount of information at the click of mouse but are also faced with those who seek to steal secrets, disable defenses, or otherwise use the Internet for their own purposes. Heritage’s James Carafano addresses these threats in his new book, Wiki at War: “The war for winning dominance over social networks and using that dominance to [one’s] advantage is already underway.”
While our first thoughts might be the worrying threats of cyber espionage or even cyberwarfare, there are also other struggles. Hacktivists, like Julian Assange, do not seek to steal information for money or disable a website for military advantage but to further their own causes. Indeed, these struggles are as much about domestic issues as foreign and security ones. Hacktivist groups such as Anonymous have taken part in the Occupy protests and continue to engage in illicit activity to further their political goals.
Online activism, of course, also has the power to work for good causes. During the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) debate, the backlash from the Internet community in one day changed so many Senators’ and Representatives’ minds that both bills died without even coming up for a vote. The importance of social networks in the SOPA and PIPA debate cannot be denied.
Wiki at War casts in stark relief the issues that political, military, and social leaders face in trying to manage and control information in both the international and domestic arenas. Carafano will discuss his book at The Heritage Foundation on March 2 at noon and provide greater insight into conflicts and advocacy in the cyber world.