Anonymous has made a lot of international news as of late as it seems their organization is growing larger and more brash. Most recently have been attacks made by them on a number of US government websites including the CIA, FBI, and many local police authorities, especially as members of the organization have been found and arrested (with charges equaling more than 100 years in federal prison).
“Anonymous is a decentralized network of individuals focused on promoting access to information, free speech, and transparency.” (From http://anonanalytics.com/)
Though I agree with promoting these ideals expressed, this is not what the image of the organization is to the public, and perhaps it is that decentralized network structure that makes it so. Without the structure, there is little way for the organization to truly keep a handle on all of its “members” making sure that the ideals it was founded on are correctly pursued. With the most recent attacks and threats, the group appears to be insecure, a group of nerds and geeks who always wanted to be a superhero vigilante and see this as their chance. I’m sorry to break it to you Anonymous, but you’re not Batman, Superman, Spiderman, or the X-men. All you are making yourselves out to be are bullies and terrorists (which I believe was exactly what Captain America was against). I am not the only one with this opinion. David Goldman from CNN Money Tech wrote an article last year about the groups and their overall position within the global cyber-crime universe.
The global cybercrime universe is terrifying. Cybercrooks often work in organized crime syndicates like the Mafia. Some defraud banks, and many others are government agents that spy on foreign entities and corporations. They threaten our financial systems, our economy, and our national security.
Comparatively, hacktivists groups are the equivalent of graffiti artists, prank callers, hazers and bullies. Like pranksters, they tend to be young, poorly funded and immature. They seek to embarrass companies, individuals, and government agencies in order to make a statement.
There comes a time; however, when the immature “pranksters” that at one time we though were harmless end up making a huge mistake and without looking at the consequences end up destroying what they claim they are protecting. Fighting for access to information and transparency is great and all, but at what cost? One of the most recent attacks was on the police department of my home city where the database of anonymous tips and other information was stolen and held over the states head to get them to stop anti-graffiti legislation they didn’t like. “They criticize the bill for being too broad, an attempt ‘to resolve an inconvenience with a flamethrower.’ ” (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53417158-78/police-site-website-information.html.csp) So you take innocent citizens information, who were reporting crimes, and threaten to release it? How is that not hypocritical and ‘resolving an inconvenience with a flamethrower’? Why can’t you go through the normal channels? You’re putting other people’s lives at risk. Even the dumbest of superheroes has more sense than that.
If this was the worse they had done, I might chalk it up to a well-played bluff, but it’s not. They’ve done worse and are currently doing worse. A group called “Morality in Media” whose focus is to try to curb the ever-expanding movement of pornography in our world is under constant attacks and threats because of the outcry of the group’s executive director who witness a man in front of her on an airplane viewing pornography that she deemed to be “childlike”. She spoke out and was told to be quiet by the stewardess, a number of the passengers, one in particular who told her “Be quiet, no one cares.” (Read her letter here You can also see the short YouTube video about the experience) After posting a YouTube video about the incident, Anonymous decided to get their hands involved releasing the home address, phone numbers of not only this executive director, but her parents, brother, and other relatives encouraging members and others to harass and threaten them, most recently with “I will kill you” as well as other death threats and calls for violent attacks.
It’s this type of extremism that causes the great many issues we have in this world and to be frank, I am sick and tired of it. I don’t speak just about anonymous as the trend today is if I don’t get my way, then I’m going to be radical until I do. This goes for the government, politics, religious groups, anti-religious groups, and many, many more. Do we tolerate people and groups being a bullies and terrorists because we think they’re fighting for a just cause? How far is too far? Will we let them turn into organizations like the KKK? Would you tolerate them threatening you, your friends, and your family? Will we let it go on until they’ve compromising our security and freedoms just so they can have their way? Will you care? “Who is watching the watchmen?” What are your thoughts?