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Why are Gandhi and Thoreau AFK?: In Search for Civil Disobedience online
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Media and Communication Studies.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates if Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks constitute a valid form ofcivil disobedience online. For this purpose a multi-dimensional framework is established,drawing on Brownlee’s paradigm case and classical theory of civil disobedience. Threedifferent examples of DDoS attacks are then examined using this framework - the attacksfrom the Electronic Disturbance Theater in support of the Zapatista movement;Anonymous’ Operation Payback; Electrohippies’ attack against the World TradeOrganization. Following the framework, none of these DDoS attacks are able to constitute acivilly disobedient act online. The thesis then goes on and identifies four key issues, drawingon the results from the examples: The loss of 'individual presence', no inimitable feature ofDDoS attacks, impeding free speech and the danger of western imperialism. It concludes thatDDoS attacks cannot and should not be seen as a form of civil disobedience online. Thethesis further proposes that online actions, in order to be seen as civilly disobedient actsonline, need two additional features: An 'individual presence' of the protesters online tocompensate for the remoteness of cyberspace and an inimitable feature in order to berecognizable by society. Further research should investigate with this extended framework ifthere are valid forms of civil disobedience online.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 53 p.
Keyword [en]
DDoS, Civil Disobedience, Gandhi, Thoreau, Activism, Digital Activism, Protests, Philosophy, Distributed Denial of Servie, Rawls, Brownlee, Hacktivism, Virtual Sit-Ins
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-204675OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-204675DiVA: diva2:639597
Subject / course
Digital Media
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
A311, Ekonomikum, Uppsala (English)
Available from: 2013-08-09 Created: 2013-08-08 Last updated: 2013-08-09Bibliographically approved

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Kleinhans, Jan-Peter
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