Leadership Profile

New Media Students Write Paper on 'Hactivism'

Cedar Crest College Assistant Professor Precious Yamaguchi, Ph.D., and students in her International Virtual Spaces new media course have co-written a paper on hactivism (hacker activism) titled, “Behind the Guy Fawkes Mask: Examining Anonymous and #OpIsrael.” Students who co-wrote the paper include Demi Barzana, Kaylah Baylor, Ayako Iwata, Morgan Keschl, Bryanna Miller, Rachel Morgandale, and Alyssa Schoenberger.

The paper, which has been accepted to the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Conference at the University of Illinois this spring, examines how the hactivist group, Anonymous, used social media–particularly Twitter–to organize hacktivist events in response to the Gaza-Israel fighting in November 2012.

These events included hacking into various official Israeli websites after the Israeli government threatened a countrywide ban on Internet use, not unlike what the hactivist group had previously done in Egypt when people there faced the prospect of similar restrictions.

“It’s invaluable to the learning experience to be able to write a paper with my students that not only relates to the use of new media such as Facebook and Twitter, but also to current events that are shaping the world,” said Yamaguchi. “The fact that the paper has been accepted to an international conference validates that the research is relevant, and is a great source of pride for all of us.”