Hacking for global democracy?

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Listen to the Episode: Hacking for global democracy?

You know how a few years back we all got very excited when rapidly developing communication and consumer technologies opened up the door for the idea of ‘citizen journalism’? Well Stephen Stockwell (Griffith University) says the time is now ripe for the ‘citizen hacker’. But don’t get him wrong, he’s not suggesting that we all now have the capacity to break through the firewalls of government, corporate and security service networks, and that by doing so we will somehow make things better in the world.

He suggests rather that there is a new ‘hacker ethos’, one which applies to those who are ‘repurposing the media machine to open and extend debate beyond traditional national and social borders’. And he makes the claim (Stockwell 2008:8) that:
This new form of politics connects to its public via “viral campaigning” using music, humour, fuzzy logic, ambush promotion and interactivity to infect populations with arguments that generate political debate and take off on a life of their own.

So how can you become a citizen hacker? And do you really want to be one? And just by clicking on the latest Sarah Palin send-up on YouTube and forwarding it to your friends, have you in fact, without knowing it, become one already? …. To explore these issues, our old hack, Allan Carrington, ventured forth to interview Stephen. Hear it all in this podcast episode.

True to his principle that ‘information wants to be free’ Stephen has kindly made his paper – We’re All Hackers Now … Doing Global Democracy – available for distribution. It is a powerful, challenging and scholarly piece, so please get fired up and hack into our comment board with your take on this topic.

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