Anonymity Beyond Anonymity

With the recent uproar over SOPA in the past months, the legion know as “Anonymous” was certain to up its aggressive ante. In the recent days, there has been a lot of news about the “hacker collective.” Anonymous is anyone who wants to be anonymous. The group is composed of online users from around the nation as well as the world. They are a collective of individuals working… well… anonymously for a single cause. Anonymous takes activism and makes the 60s shamefully sit in the overpowering shadow of the digitized global brain, often distinguished by its Guy Faux mask and a Microsoft Sam-esque voiceover. The group communicates over IRC and internet message board, anonymously of course, and organizes raids of websites and web attacks.

Anonymous has been known to shut down sites such as Facebook. Recently, the group was found to be the cause of the self proclaimed  “single largest Internet attack in its history.” They successfully shut down the websites of multiple corporations and organizations. Anonymous attacked The Department of Justice site, the FBI, Universal Music Group, the RIAA, and the MPAA. The internet retaliation was caused by the government seizure of the website Megaupload, all relating to the recent SOPA bill.

As I stated, Anonymous is an internet legion. Specifically, a legion is a group of fighters, and that is precisely what Anonymous is. They fight for what they collectively make out to be justice. Just last week, they leaked an FBI conference call discussing the group. The call was, of course ,meant to be secretive and not for the public to hear. Within the last few days, Anonymous leaked emails claiming to be from an advisor to the Syrian President. The emails suggest “how Bashar al-Assad could downplay violence in the country” (CNN). One could see how the group could be viewed as an evil, virus like entity, doing as it pleases, hacking and disrupting the flow of the world wide web. Plenty of people hold a negative view of anonymous. But they can also be seen as one of the greatest revolutions in the history of man. Think about it, they are anonymous, they can’t be tied to their “crimes.” The crimes being what a large mass of people agree to be necessary to spark change, and they often are necessary. Anonymous could well be considered a necessary “evil” of internet social culture. I, personally, am glad they do what they do.

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