The Hacktivismo FAQ v1.0

What is Hacktivismo?  What is the cDc?  And most importantly, who is a Dwarf Named
Warren?  In this inaugural FAQ you'll be treated to the kind of privileged information
that would normally cost you over a thousand dollars at the Black Hat Briefings.  And you
don't even have to hang around with a bunch of lame CTOs to get it.  Hacktivismo.  It's
the biggest thing since John Holmes' pecker.  Love it.  Rub it.  Share it with your

Q: What is Hacktivismo?

A: Hacktivismo is a special operations group sponsored by the CULT OF THE DEAD COW (cDc).
We view access to information as a basic human right.  We are also interested in keeping
the Internet free of state-sponsored censorship and corporate chicanery so all opinions
can be heard.

Q: What is the CULT OF THE DEAD COW?

A: The cDc is the most influential group of hackers in the world.  Grandmaster Ratte' and
Franken Gibe spawned the herd in 1984 in Lubbock, Texas.  We publish the first and longest
running e-zine in the history of the Internet, are a thorn in Billion Gates ass, and are
the only reason worth getting out of bed in the morning.  We're also very good at card
tricks and dancing.

Q: Why is CULT OF THE DEAD COW always capitalized?

A: It's cooler that way.

Q: When was Hacktivismo formed?

A: Oxblood Ruffin, the cDc's Foreign Minister, began developing Hacktivismo at Defcon
[] in the summer of 1999, based on drunken conversations with
Reid Fleming and AJ Effin Reznor.  Our first recruit was Bronc Buster who started
programming in January 2000 with Mr. Pink, who has since left the group.

Q: Is Hacktivismo the same as the CULT OF THE DEAD COW?

A: No. The CULT OF THE DEAD COW is a group where new members are inducted rarely, and only
after rigorous debate, temper tantrums, and a big group hug afterwards.  Hacktivismo is an
autonomous group within the cDc where members are invited to join by Oxblood after they've
done a lot of work on Hacktivismo projects.

Q: How many members does Hacktivismo have?

A: As of July 1, 2001 we had five official members.

Oxblood Ruffin - Baudfather & Founder, Rolodex Expert
Bronc Buster - Network Wrangler, Gravy Maven, Charter Member
The Pull - Research Beast, Lone Star Hellion, Charter Member
The Mixter - Hole Poker, Lederhosen Enthusiast, Charter Member
Drunken Master - Code Sifu, Merlot Soak, Charter Member

We also have twenty-eight people participating in the Peekabooty Project [see below].  Our
numbers include I.T. professionals, lawyers, human rights workers, and students.  We live
in the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel, Taiwan, Korea, and the Peoples Republic of China.
Hacktivismo also has informal layers of support that collect network intelligence and will
assist with application distribution, and document translation.  The one thing that can be
said of the Hacktivismo network is that it is truly international.  We're the United
Nations of hacking, except without the bickering and cheapskates who won't pay up.

Q: What do the people in Hacktivismo do when they aren't fighting for international human

A: Different people do different things to relax.  Bronc Buster signed up for some ballet
classes a while back, and The Pull is learning how to play the French horn.  Once the
whole Hacktivismo crew rented a Hummer and went to see Bridget Jones Diary in Niagara Falls.
We loved the movie so much that we all bought ice cream and control panties right after the
show.  We're just plain folks; some plainer than others.

Q: Do you have t-shirts?

A: Right now, only for our members and the people we want to sleep with.  But shortly
Hacktivismo will initiate its Cotton for Cadres Campaign wherein we shall make our
revolutionary, 100% cotton undergarment available for purchase.  Our t-shirt is black;
a restful, pastel black with a lovely white graphic symbolizing creativity, youthful
exuberance, and hackerly daring-do.  It is guaranteed to find you love and riches.  Start
saving now.

Q: Why do you use El Dia de los Muertos [Day of the Dead] imagery?

A: For two reasons. 1) It's hella cool; and 2) It's important to remember the dead. The
Day of the Dead festival in Mexico is something like our Halloween, but it is a religious
celebration.  Everyone goes to graveyards and has picnics and fun.  It's like a great big
party with salsa and skeletons.

It may seem like a bit of a stretch, but we chose this imagery to honor the victims of human
rights abuses.  Sometimes it's hard to imagine that people could be imprisoned, or worse,
for things we take for granted.  They should never be forgotten.

Q: What does Hacktivismo mean?

A: Hacktivismo is Spanish for "hacktivism", a neologism formed by combining the words
hacking and activism.  We chose Hacktivismo to differentiate us from other groups who
claim to be hacktivists but don't really know their ass from a brick.

Q: What do you mean by the word "hacktivism", then?

A: The provenance of hacktivism winds back to Omega - a longstanding member of the cDc -
who started using it as a joke to describe on-line protest actions.  Oxblood appropriated
the word and began using it with a straight face; then many journalists, fading stars of
the Left, and eventually script kiddies picked up on it, all claiming to know what
hacktivism meant.  It has been a noun in search of a verb for some time now.  Oxblood once
defined hacktivism as "an open-source implosion", and now he's added "disruptive
compliance" to its range of description.

Q: What the hell are you talking about?  I'm just looking for a simple answer here.

A: Hold your kimono, cupcake.  O.K., hacktivism is the use of technology to advance human
rights through electronic media.

Q: You mean you aren't interested in advancing human rights in the real world, on the

A: Sure, but that's not where our competence lies.  We're hackers, not social justice
activists.  Let's put it this way.  Some groups and individuals are well suited to fight
for social and economic progress around the world.  If as a result of an initiative in
Africa, for instance, economic standards were raised and more people could obtain
computers -- that would be a good thing.  But what kind of Internet would they eventually
have access to?  One where censorship or the proliferation of vulnerable software left
them at risk?  We're not willing to sit by and watch that happen.  We think of hacktivism
and the Internet the same way that homeopathist's think of the body: you have to introduce
a little poison to create health.  Code has consciousness and healing power whether you
like it or not.

R: That sounds a little booga-booga.

A: Free your mind, dude.  Reach forward and touch your monitor.  Can you feel the love?
No?  Well maybe if your screen weren't so goddamn dirty you could.

Q: What is Hacktivismo's mission statement?

A: We don't have one as such, but we do believe in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration
on Human Rights (UDHR) as one point of departure.  It reads, "Everyone has the right to
freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without
interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
regardless of frontiers."  The entire text of the UDHR can be located at  We also like Article 19 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that can be located at

Q: What is the Hacktivismo Declaration?

A: We decided to release a document that condemned state-sponsored censorship of the
Internet.  Hopefully people will read it and think it's a good thing, or a total piece of
crap.  Getting some sort of discussion going around information rights is the primary
objective.  You can read the Hacktivismo Declaration on the cDc website.

Q: It's pretty legalistic.  What gives?

A: You should try writing one of these things.  The main purpose was to cite some
internationally recognized documents that equate access to information with human and
political rights; to state unequivocally that reasonable access to lawfully published material
on the Internet is a basic human right; that we're disgusted with the political hypocrisy and
corporate avarice that has created this situation; and, that we're stepping up to the plate
and doing something about this.

Q: Do you think all information should be accessible?

A: No.  That's why we talk about "lawfully published" information in the Hacktivismo
Declaration.  Essentially that cuts out things like legitimate government secrets, kiddie
porn, matters of personal privacy, and other accepted restrictions.  But even the term
"lawfully published" is full of landmines.  Lawful to whom?  What is lawful in the United
States can get you a bullet in the head in China.  At the end of the day we recognize that
some information needs to be controlled.  But that control falls far short of censoring
material that is critical of governments, intellectual and artistic opinion, information
relating to women's issues or sexual preference, and religious opinions.  That's another
way of saying that most information wants to be free; the rest needs a little privacy,
even non-existence in the case of things like kiddie porn.  Everyone will have to sort the
parameters of this one out for themselves.

Q: What's up with that line about "public morals" in the Hacktivismo Declaration?  Are you
trying to get a date with Tipper Gore?

A: Cute.  You are referring to paragraph 3, Article 19 of the ICCPR that we quote in the
preamble before the actual declaration.  All we can say is that we didn't write this --
a bunch of lawyers at the United Nations did.  But in its defense, this is the kind of
general provision that makes it clear that things like kiddie porn do not qualify as
freedom of expression.

Q: What's the relationship between Hacking and Human Rights?

A: We believe that reasonable access to information on the Internet - and across all media
- is a basic human right.  We are trying to intervene to reverse the tide of
state-sponsored censorship of the Internet through the inventive use of code.  This is
what Oxblood is referring to when he uses the term "disruptive compliance".  It's the
opposite of "civil disobedience".  We favor using disruptive technologies that comply with
the spirit and original intent of the Internet.  The Internet is a commons with its own
field of operation.  It's all about freedom and bringing the world together.  The number
of politicians who just don't get this astounds us.  They should learn how to use email
and a few other basics before they come up with any more restrictive/vindictive

Q: What is Peekabooty?

A: Something that even control panties will not be able to suppress.  Firstly, let us say
what it is not: It is not file sharing, it is not Gnutella, and it is not Napster in a trench
coat.  Peekabooty is a distributed collaborative privacy network.  It allows clients to
evade most forms of DNS filtering and make Web page requests directly to a distributed server
cloud that processes the requests and trans-serves content back to the requesting client.

Q: Will Peekabooty neutralize state-sponsored censorship of the Internet?

A: It will help some folks, and for a while.  But eventually all of the bad people with
horrible breath and ugly clothing will try to shut Peekabooty down.  We know for a fact
that the Chinese government - actually, the geriatric and nepotistic martinets who butcher
their own citizens is a more accurate description - are waiting for Peekabooty to come out so
they can throw all of their evil Commie resources against it.  But we have three things
going for us: 1) We have a morally superior position; 2) Peekabooty will be released open
source and will mutate beyond recognition; and, most importantly 3) The International Hacker
Community is on our side.  Still, we expect some of this to be tough sledding.

Q: So you're saying it's possible that Peekabooty might eventually get shut down?

A: It's not impossible, we'll see.  The only thing we know is that history will applaud us
if we succeed, and eventually forgive us if we fail.  But it will never forgive us if we
fail to even try.

Q: When will it be released?

A: When it's ready.

Q: Will it be open source?

A: Hells yeah.

Q: How will you distribute it?

A: Peekabooty will spread faster than herpes at spring break.  There is no vaccine.  There
is no cure.

Q: What can I do to help?

A: It's your duty to Peekabooty.  This is a revolution you can download, so get on the
stick and run Peekabooty when it's available.

Q: What does the name mean?

A: Oxblood was staying in Harlem at Grandmaster Ratte's, and one day while he was waiting
in front of G. Ratte's apartment, Oxblood saw a little girl on the sidewalk.  She was
standing in front of her mother who had her back to him.  The little girl kept popping her
head around her mother's hip to play peek-a-boo, which was kind of funny because the girl was
completely hidden by her Mom's spandex-wearing, fuscia-colored, mile-wide ass, as she stood
in front.  And all of a sudden the word Peekabooty flashed into Oxblood's mind, like an
epiphany, or something else really important.  And he had a vision of an innocent smiling
into the fat ass of repression, and the possibilities seemed endless.  So he started
calling the app Peekabooty.

Q: Why are you doing this?

A: Hacking is a contact sport.  We're trying to maintain contact with as many people as
possible.  The world is far too small a place to disconnect millions of people from one
another.  And governments that attempt to separate and divide the world rather than bring
it together are on a collision course with the inevitable.  There's an arrogant and
misguided notion that somehow dictators will be able to exploit the Internet to improve their
economies, yet put a chokehold on content they don't like.  Good luck, nitwits.

Q: Who cares if Iraq or Cuba censors the Internet?  It ain't nothin' to me.

A: Substitute the word control for censor.  The fact that dictators are ham-fisted and
obvious is only a testament to their arrogance and contempt for humanity.  All governments
want to control the Internet in one form or another.  The United States, Germany, France,
the United Kingdom, and Australia - just to name a few - have all enacted legislation
governing use of the Internet, some of it very bad.

Q: How do I become a hacker?

A: Get in touch with Carolyn Meinel at  She is the world's
greatest haxor.  Granny Meinel will sell you her haxoring book, and possibly even her
incontinence knickers - maintained by backdoor special_assed, JP Varanisnatch - from which she
retrieves the dark secrets of her trade.

Q: What?

A: That was a joke.  Everyone who knows those, um, security experts, is rolling on the
floor right now.

(c) HACKTIVISMO/cDc communications 2000-2001
FAQ compiled by Oxblood Ruffin, A Dwarf Named Warren, and Little Marie.

We will have more to say.