One of the best examples of hacktivism from this weeks readings would be the Anonymous attack on HBGary following the investigation into them after their attacks on the financial service companies.
First and foremost, Anonymous once again goes all out in their attempts to free information on the internet. They attacked businesses who tried to retaliate against wikileaks, and now attacked those who try to stop them from doing the same to others. They even did it by providing all of their information that HBGary was collecting for the FBI for free. While their actions may certainly embody the American ideal of free speech, hacktivism being international in scope does not downplay the seemingly lofty ethical implications these attacks have. It's arguable that free speech should be a universal thing, and with the internet permeating every inch of the globe, it will only become easier. Besides, it would seem that certain institutions don't enjoy free speech all that much, hence the harsh and wild attempts to censor wikileaks in the first place.
So, do they violate civil rights? I'd say in the case of downloading, reading, and distributing thousands of emails and private documents from HBGary, they certainly did. But, through their actions they made clear a firm stance to not be messed with. You try to silence them, they have the means to hurt you in many ways beyond physical violence.