Framing digital activism: The spectre of cyberterrorism


  • Fidele Vlavo King's College London



digital activism, cyberterrorism, cyberprotest, DDoS, Critical Art Ensemble, Electronic Disturbance Theater.


For the past 20 years, the word ’cyberterrorism’ has been used to describe online practices considered to be acts of terror. Yet, so far, experts and lawmakers have been unable to recognise and agree on what actually constitutes cyberterror. This paper retraces the origin of the term to show that the label of cyberterrorism is part of a discursive framework that aims to deter the development of cyberprotest and cyberactivism. The main argument is that while socio-political protest occurs in the digital sphere, cyberterrorism does not, and will not, happen in the near future. As such, it is critical that the word be excluded from contemporary debates about activism and digital networks.

Author Biography

Fidele Vlavo, King's College London

Fidele Vlavo works on digital activism, creative performance and hacking. Her current research examines the performativity of digital direct action. She is Research Associate in the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London.




How to Cite

Vlavo, F. (2015). Framing digital activism: The spectre of cyberterrorism. First Monday, 20(10).