Scambaiters, Human Flesh Search Engine, Perverted justice, and Internet Haganah: Villains, Avengers, or Saviors on the Internet?

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • GeoPolitics and Activism

Presentation Title:

  • Scambaiters, Human Flesh Search Engine, Perverted justice, and Internet Haganah: Villains, Avengers, or Saviors on the Internet?

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • (Long paper)

    Keywords: Vigilante online communities, digilantism, hacktivism.

    In recent years, Internet users have been increasingly participating in so called digilantes or cyber-vigilante communities, becoming self-appointed avengers of justice who wade through the Internet to hunt down unlawful netizens. These groups see the legal mechanisms for criminal punishment as ineffective and use social networks to crowdsource both the prosecution and the execution of punishment. I conducted an experimental investigation into these justiceseeking activist groups to compare the ‘scambaiting’ antifraud movement and their methods and similar webformations like ‘Perverted justice’, ‘Human Flesh Search Engine’ and ‘Internet Haganah’. Each group’s motives are presented with recent examples, and parallels are drawn to similar projects carried out by journalists, artists or activists. Mass mediated prosecutions entertain popular culture and are used to regulate social norms. It was found that vigilante communities use congruent techniques in gathering intelligence and use comparable prosecution methods like shaming, humiliation, cyber bullying, or doxing. Furthermore, moral concerns of these deviant actions and possibilities of governmentality are discussed.

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