Much of the focus of cyber conflict has been on interstate conflict. This article focuses on two interrelated questions in the important but neglected area of cyber contentious politics. First, how does the public feel about the use of different eco tactics including cyber-based tactics carried out by activists involved in the radical environmental movement, a movement that uses protest and sabotage in service of environmental causes? Second, how do anti-technology sentiment and concerns about climate change influence support for different eco tactics? To answer these questions, we conduct a survey and survey experiment on a nationally diverse sample of Americans. We find that Americans are less supportive of certain eco tactics, particularly those that involve property destruction or physical sabotage compared to cyber-based tactics. We further show that anti-technology sentiment and perceived threat from climate change are correlated with increased support for eco direct actions. Using a survey experiment we show that cyber direct actions that result in sabotage are viewed as more acceptable than kinetic actions even though they both result in the same level of destruction. Finally, we include qualitative data from interviews with activists to better understand the strategy and role that new technology and tactics play in the broader radical environmental movement.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.