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Hacking as political protest in South East Asia

Armed with digital media, some citizens aren’t just trying to share information – they’re engaging in cyber warfare against the government.

Poomjit Sirawongprasert writes,

“The websites of the Philippine Information Agency, Philippine National Police, Bulacan Provincial government, and Hagonoy town were hacked when angry residents demonstrated digitally against the botched handling of the Manila hostage crisis on 23 August 2010, which left 8 hostages dead. In addition, President Benigno Aquino’s personal Facebook account, which is linked to his official website, has been flooded by hate messages over the incident so that he continues to have to censor his Facebook page.”

Heavy job losses in the IT sector resulting from the global economic crisis have let loose a flood of highly skilled workers. Disaffected groups of hackers have gathered to mount cyber-attacks on online businesses and to sabotage security networks. These underground anti-establishment networks have expanded considerably in numbers, knowledge, skill, and are acknowledged for their ability to stay one jump ahead of their targets. Significantly, their connections with political groups in the region have also strengthened considerably.


Digital politics have enabled new forms of democratic action: protests, media, outreach, etc. It has also opened up new realms of illegal activity, some of which could be seen as civil disobedience, others as sabotage. Such groups are notorious for outmaneuvering larger organizations, but it remains to be seen whether such activity will genuinely change government activity or radicalize its censorship strategy.

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Noviscape, Sept 2010, page 12: http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/Noviscape_Sept2010#page=12

Digital Review of Asia Pacific 2009–2010 ‘.ph’ Philippines,