Over the past five years the term hacktivist has become prevalent. A hacktivist is a person, usually a member of a group, that hacks a mainframe or generally causes cyber chaos for various companies or government institutions in order to make a point. It is effective. Bank of America has been hacked by groups before, and a well as a rather well-known private security firm was hacked by Anonymous. These are some of the latest examples but there are many worthy notations of this type of hackivism. Consider it a type of cyber militia. The right to bare arms and the right to be able to protect ones self and community by hacking entities that would do harm.
“[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens.” — The Federalist, No. 29
- Alexander Hamilton
So where the point gets sticky is about determining the harm and proving a threat. When dealing with guns, it gets a bit simplistic because the situation is purely physical. People facing each other with weapons makes it easy to see the threat. One could reasonably argue that with a cyber attack it is not a threat to life, but to livelihood, therefore being somewhat less justified to go to the extreme of hacking. However, in today’s multinational conglomerate world, is there another way to hold tyrannical leadership accountable? Is it not a threat if a person dies from a bullet wound or from starving to death is the result not the same? What if they died because they didn’t have the access to acquire expensive medical treatment, or if they killed themselves because of lack of hope that they will ever be able to escape surmounting debt because of circumstances out of their control? Is it not the same in the end? And what more effective way to protect oneself than to be a hackivist?
For me, it’s too late, I know nothing about hacking. I don’t have that kind of mind. I think this point is important to make. I appreciate those who do. In a world where tyranny can be so well protected and insulated by law enforcement and government allies, it is nice to know there is a secret society much like the stories of the Knights of the Round Table that have the ability to reach out and touch the untouchables. I believe this was the intent of the Second Amendment, to offer citizens effective recourse in the face of tyranny. The way a properly equipped musket would be the tool of protection when our nation was born, a properly equipped laptop is now. The saying goes that an armed society is a polite society. I don’t know about all that, but there is something to be said for the respect that comes with a certain level of concern held by those in positions of power. That the consent of the governed becomes more real when the governed is on a somewhat even playing field to those that may be tempted to indulge their tyrannical tendencies. Even more so because it in fact is not a gun, no one physically dies and because as we would train a militia to protect against enemies both foreign and domestic there could be a civil cyber army to take on threats from other nations if needed.
It would not be a right to be taken lightly. The Second Amendment isn’t now. You can’t randomly shoot people on the street and claim Second Amendment rights. It is specific and I would argue a certain best practice model for the Second Amendment should be developed anyway. But in today’s world one cannot protect their family with firepower alone as the Second Amendment currently accommodates. And if such a time comes to need such protections, those who have the ability should have the right to hack in self-defense the way that early American’s were able to bare arms to do as much. That is why hacking should be protected under the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.