Sometimes, it feels like the strangest of times. All of this seems as if it is part of some dystopian movie. Perhaps thats why the Guy Fawkes masks, immortalized in ‘V for Vendetta’ is so perfect for those who identify with the ever-growing hacker-group Anonymous.
The group, known for targeting websites that threaten the free flow of information and promote bigotry, appears to be growing and becoming more powerful as those grow in number who are pushing against their cause. Their cause, as the majority of those who identify with Anonymous state, is to keep the free flow of information possible. Truth is at the pinnacle of their belief system, it doesn’t seem to be negotiable. Over the past few years, many “prominent” websites have been shut down, either by denial of service attacks or by being defaced by the hacker group. These groups include the church of Scientology and other churches whom they suspect as homophobic or who promote negative viewpoints on Muslims. Dozens of government websites have been targeted and taken down as well. Currently, there are around 37 Egyptian websites that are shut down in order to, “stand in solidarity with those protesting in Egypt.” They’ve also targeted the financial market, shutting down Visa, MasterCard and PayPal’s websites after they pulled their donation money from Wikileaks. It is reported that recently they have also hacked into NATO’s website and have up to one gigabyte in documents which they are deaming too intense to release, just yet. They also pulled a similar tactic in early November when one of the largest Mexican drug cartels was holding a member of anonymous in custody. The group threatened releasing the names of those public Mexican officials who are on the cartel’s payroll. They succeeded in gaining the release of their captured comrade.
The standing argument about the hacktivists is the question if they are cyber-terrorists, or whistle-blowers – those who have taken the true meaning of journalism – to keep the government in check and keep everyone aware on what’s going on in the world they live in.
Recent laws and legislation that are passing in Washington with zero mention by the main stream media are beginning to light a fire under the bottoms of the hacktivists. Legislation like SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) have prompted the group to cling ever closer to their credo that states they; “do not forgive” and they “do not forget.”
Combined, these laws could allow the government to view someone who is pirating material online (downloading music or movies illegally) as a “terrorist” and allow them to detain and torture that person indefinitely with no trial or any explanation to anyone. This all depends on the way this legislation goes in the upcoming weeks, and what government agency is ready to flex their muscle.
Since the group has already had many members arrested, it seems as if this disagreement on principles is not going to be over any time soon, especially when their creed vows vengeance. With the average member’s ages ranging from thirteen to their late thirties, and the traditional anarchist notion of speaking under one voice, with one face, the group sees itself as truly revolutionary, doing their best to protect the last free medium. This documentary trailer shows the viewpoints of the group from inside so that those who want to know whats going on in the world that they live in, can see another viewpoint, aside from FOX news, or CNN. The more viewpoints and sides to a story you learn about, the more understanding you have. Besides, what’s better than getting a story straight from the horse’s mouth? It will be interesting to see what happens to this group, whom many either see as cyber-geeks and others as heroes. They could fall like other hacktist powerhouses like Lulzsec, or they could stick around for a while, the internet is sure to continue being a battleground as the conflict only escalates between censorship and control and freedom and truth.