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Hacktivism as an Emerging Form of Political Participation

            The exponential growth in technology throughout the world has led to tremendous leaps and bounds for all fields of life. Technology has changed the way we grow as a society, improving functionality in education, economics, politics, and security. However, this has also led to advances in ways to attack security and even created a new area of security attacks known as hacktivism. Hacktivism - "a new controversial form of civic participation" ¬- is a common action performed by the hacktivist group Anonymous. This group and the foundation of hacktivism is heavily covered by Galina Mikhaylova in her thesis, "The 'Anonymous' Movement: Hacktivism as an Emerging Form of Political Participation", written in 2014, as part of her partially fulfilling the requirements for a degree of Master of Arts with a Major in Sociology from Texas State University. The thesis as a whole was presented to a committee three esteemed professors of the university that was responsible for evaluating the thesis as a whole. As a result, Mikhaylova's thesis is an incredibly useful source based on the information provided and backed up with several sources, the target audience to whom she wrote for, and the up-to-date information.
             As a whole, Mikhaylova's thesis focuses on the very foundation of hacktivism, and the specific hacktivist group who identify as Anonymous. She expresses two main topics throughout her theses. The first is in regards to how Anonymous views themselves and how they are viewed by others. She explains throughout the thesis that hacktivists and specifically Anonymous can be viewed by others and referred to by themselves as the modern-day political vigilantes, using advanced coding and technological skills to attack corporations, political figures, or other collective groups in order to achieve their goals. Her main evidence for claiming "'Anonymous' as 'Cyber Vigilantes'' (Page 21) is that the group fulfill all the requirements to be deemed as a vigilante.

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