ProjectWestWind: Hacktivist Statement on Education

October 4, 2012 - capitalism / cyberactivism / cyberculture / Hacktivism / information technology / internet / Privacy / the academy

Hacktivists Team Ghost Shell have accessed over fity university servers and released data on The data release was not a pure invasion of privacy or act of data mining for identity theft, it was a political act, a cyber-equivalent of sabotage. The purpose? To get out a message about problems in education today. It’s also worth noting that they claim several of the servers they looked at contained malware – which would mean Universities are not protecting student, faculty and staff data especially well. The full text from the release follows:


We have set out to raise awareness towards the changes made in today's education, how new laws imposed by politicians affect us, our economy and overall, our way of life. How far we have ventured from learning valuable skills that would normally help us be prepared in life, to just, simply memorizing large chunks of text in exchange for good grades. How our very own traditions are heard less and less, losing touch with who we truly are. Slowly casting the identities, that our ancestors fought to protect, into exile. - TGS

As a wise man once said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Updates* We wanted to bring to your attention different examples from Europe, how the laws change so often that even the teachers have a hard time adjusting to them, let alone, the students, to the US, where tuition fees have spiked up so much that by the time you finish any sort of degree, you will be in more debt than you can handle and with no certainty that you will get a job, to Asia, where strict & limited teachings still persist and never seem to catch up with the times and most of the time fail to prep you up for a world where foreign affairs are crucial in this day and age. 

Even so, we figured, how hypocrites we'd have to be to enforce our own beliefs in this release, that's why, this turned out into an open debate where you are all welcome to participate. You don't have to talk about it with us, what's important is that you bring up the subject "today's education" in day-to-day conversations with your family, friends, people close to you and try to understand the system better, together. How it works, how a certain type of diploma can or cannot help you in your road to the career you want to pursue. 

As for us, we have taken the time to gather opinions and points of views from different anonymous members, all around the globe. On behalf of Team GhostShell, I would like to respectfully thank all those that have contributed to this release. It has been a unique experience. - DeadMellox


-the situation and Europe are nowhere near comparable - the cost of an education in the US is astronomically higher. However, I feel that you do have a point. 
- Solutions: Look in the open-source community. Find those willing to provide educational literature and have it for free for students. The issue with this is that all universities have some agreements with publishers about books for courses and there seem to be few ways to circumvent this. I've said it in the past and continue to attempt to work on this now - make a viable, functioning online university with people in the education field. Advertising and donations for revenue [a radical idea, but something that is in sync with reality in the 21st century]
- "Teacher excitement" sorry, there are many educators that are enthusiastic about their careers, but classroom sizes are ever-increasing. I feel that encouragement and programs to make those interact with their peers and "self-teach" is effective. Self teaching is effective, especially in children. Example: has had tremendous success.

Quality: Mcdonaldization of the education system, classroom sizes, decrease in critical thinking skills - Anonymous

Learning. has been reduced to LEARN and REPEAT information, as in MEMORIZE.

If intelligence is not defined by data retention, but the ability to understand data "at present moment" and creativity.

Why to follow old procedures? why not create a channel where everything can be learned? online, officially with the help of schools nationally. - Anonymous

The easy answer is student loans, and they are a big deal.  However I am more frustrated that we designed our current educational system in the 40s/50s when our school system was designed to output 50-70% of students for manufacturing jobs.  We have kept this same system for over 60+ years.    Now the manufacturing jobs market is almost gone so those students are finding themselves net receiving the education that they need for jobs in the information age, and they know it. A common complaint for dropouts is that they feel that the school system is not benefiting them.

This may be part of the root cause of why we are facing high drop out stats and unemployment for students that do not go on to higher education.  Part of the problem is that our current system was only designed to output ~20% to higher education.  - Anonymous

Student: 17 year old female, last year of highschool from a latin third world country:
asi que te doy mi punto de vista como una persona normal
te hago una pregunta
para que vamos al colegio?
Anon 1: a EDUCARNOS. a aprender a pensar. 
Student: exacto esa palabra aprender, pensar
nos enseñan cosas mucha informacion
pero jamas de los jamases nos enseñan metodos de estudios eficaces
por lo que nos vamos y solamente estudia de memoria y solo para el examen para pasar de grado
por lo que esa informacion despues de pocos dias
se va..
lo mejor seria fomentando la imaginacion y el pensamiento individual de cada persona
por eso casi siempre los paraguayos son timidos
no les gusta hablar
porque muchas veces sus palabras no son escuchadas
entendes eso?
osea cuando sos chiquito te tendrian que dar premios por responder
por saber
y aca eso no hacen
por lo que le importa un comino
y piensan que hablar en publico es pelada
se concentran mas en que van a fallar que en otra cosa
que otra cosa
a mi hubiese
encantado aprender musica
pero las clases simplemente no las entendia 
eran muy dificiles para mi comprension
porque con nosotros no empezaron desde cero
y muchas veces los profesores no estan lo suficientemente capacitados para enseñar
si para dar e imponer informacion
pero no enseñan
y muchas veces no tienen paciencia
profesores hay muchos..
maestros pocos.
y la forma en que enseñan aca
da asco
porque vienen se sientan y solo se escucha bla bla bla
la informacion no viene solamente a travez del sentido auditivo
sino tambien a travez de la vista
tenemos un infocus
en el cole
pero los profesores nunca lo usan para sus clases
sin dudas seria mucho mas divertido y definitivamente pondria mas atencion si lo usaran
que se acostumbren a utilizar las ventajas de la tecnologia
que no se queden en lo antiguo de venir hablar y dictar
lo mejor de mi especialidad es cuando salimos
pero cuando salimos a ver cosas referntes a salud
como a las facultades
porque te muestra como va a ser tu posible ambiente de trabajo
y que si se puede 
que noes taaan difcil
mm creo que lo basico es que nos enseñen a aprender desde pequeños y que no den clases aburridas y antiguas porque esta es una epoca moderna con muchos metodos de aprendizaje interesantes.
y bueno creo que eso es todo - Anonymous

Anon 1: concuring with the above opinion, school should first of all teach to THINK independently and not think DEPENDENTLY, as to be creative, to solve problems on their own and not use techonolgy as an excuse to depend on it, techonology is used as a tool to asiste learning without giving in to dependence, also break the habits of old obsolete info, and update constantly, learning should be creative, adaptive, evolving. Teaching like i said: TO THINK and not to DEPEND. - Anonymous

If we want change we must be ready for it. the future is technology. physical school will become obsolete.
Thanks for sharing this "moment" with us. we luvz you all - #OpPortugal @ anonops

<nick> Why do you think Mathematics isn't taught in most "modern" countries?
Do  you really think governments want countries full of people who can  think things through and find the right answers to questions? - Anonymous

Is there a way to measure/determine the proficiency level of various instructors?  Possibly a database of questions which anon-instructors can quiz themselves on, giving a score of how well they are able to "teach" a particular subject and which subjects would prove most informative for a pupil, then match students to teachers. - Anonymous

We shall see the gradual errosion of institutional structures which become increasingly more out of step with modern technology and social mobility. There was a trend towards centralisation during a period of low energy and housing costs when we lacked the technology to provide high quality distance learning. Oil, housing and other costs are now being felt across the demograpghic, at the same time governments are no longer able to fund higher level education. We will now experience a trend toward decentralisation geographically but centralisation digitally where the best teachers can be streamed into local colleges. The cost of education will reduce with this trend as will the barriers to higher education. We are in the middle of a transition where change is being driven by afffordability. - Anonymous

Det svenska utbildningssystemet:
Från statlig verksamhet till kommunal/privata alternativ en medveten sänkning? Det tror jag, och framledes kommer de offentliga (dvs de ickeprivata alternativen) förmodligen vara av så dålig  kvaliteé att det kommer att kosta att ge sitt barn en utbildning. Som i USA och England. Nya korta gymnasiutbildningar som varit på förslag är också ett sätt att försöka "slå sönder" och öppna dörren till "lågstatusyrken". Studielånen kommer det löna sig i framtiden att ens ta dem? Inte säker på det heller. 
Generellt anser jag att utbildningssystemet  andvänds för att forma individen in i samhället, inte mycket till självtänk ingår. Vi bor alltså i ett land där man utbildar sig för att föda barn, något vi gjort i alla tider :)
Svår fråga egentligen...försökt lära mitt barn självständigt tänkande och ändå passa in (utbilda dig) ingen vill väl att ens avkomma skall bli anarkist? (dubbel där.)
De mest korkade i mina ögon är ofta de som gått på universiteten. De sväljer allt utan någon tillstymmelse till ifrågasättande, lustigt!
Vi går igenom förändringar i vår tid, det som en gång varit, kommer inte tillbaka och ställer mig frågan hur har makten tänkt sig sysselsätta undersåtarna framledes? Det pågår saker på flera plan, och de hör på sätt och vis samman. Vem skall äga rätten till orden? Ser en desperation från de "där uppe" gör allt för att behålla kontrollen. Tror i förlängningen inte de kommer att lyckas och när den släpperm kommer vi förmodligen se ett helt nytt samhälle formas. Vi är inte där ÄN, det är som bekant alltid mörkast före gryningen. - Anonymous

Skolan ger våra barn grunden för kritiskt tänkande och ifrågasättandet av etablerade ”sanningar”. Genom att försämra skolans möjligheter att ge barnen bra utbildning urholkas det demokratiska systemet likväl som vår framtid och vi går ett segregerat samhälle tillmötes där sociala klyftor grävs avgrundesdjupa mellan samhällsklasserna. Det kan vi inte tillåta! - Anonymous
reddit thread about that article - Anonymous


Our targets for this release have been the top 100 universities around the world. After carefully filtering the ones that we've already leaked before and the ones where Anonymous has in major operations, we have eventually got together a new fresh list. The majority of them should be here. Also, some of us decided to go ahead and add vulnerable links to the other ones anyway, which you can find at the bottom, at "Other Universities".