The first encounter I ever had with Anonymous was during the super bowl in 2013. I knew they had existed before that, however, I never took them seriously until that point. They had #OpSuperbowl, which, according to some was the reason the power went out for twenty some odd minutes during the second half. From that point on I followed the Twitter handle @YourAnonNews one of the many pages and handles that different Anonymous members run.
Among the overload of information constantly poured through our heads every day because of the internet and television there is a voice that speaks out against injustice and fights in the battle for a free internet. The group Anonymous has been called many things: hackers, revolutionaries, and terrorists. Some would argue that they are labeled as such for correct reasons. They attack U.S. government websites and high ranking U.S. bank officials. But they also do good in the world and have many useful operations for the progression of human rights and act as a voice between the citizens and the powers in charge. But does America and the world need Anonymous?
Anonymous works by members proposing different operations (OPS) on their various message boards, when a certain operation gains momentum it becomes an actual OP, (by the people for the people). These OPS can be anything from catching pedophiles using nothing but online collaboration in the instance of Anonymous based @ReportaPedo, to erasing entire nations from the online sphere like in the instances of #OpIsrael or #OpNorthKorea.
Not everything they do is legal and there are people who disagree with everything they do. However, do they do good for the common people worldwide?
(Photo thanks to The DePaulia)
1. They are not aligned with any major world power.
Because of their non-affiliation they have power to do things that major governments do not. Such as defusing tensions between major world powers when a threat of war is imminent. Imagine North Korea, a preemptive strike versus North Korea would only trigger a nuclear war. Waiting for them to attack us in order to retaliate just leads to another nuclear war. However, Anonymous went it and took down major North Korean websites, and defaced major North Korean powers stripping trust in the government away from its citizens. In effect there are no repercussions to the United States or South Korea and there is no nuclear war because there is no one to attack in retaliation for anything done to North Korean internet sites. They have the ability to defuse major conflict because of their non-affiliation, they are the faceless mass of people speaking for one cause.
2. They can be where large media corporations are not, and get the news of tragedies out more quickly, efficiently, and correctly.
The Boston Bombings and the ensuing police state that was Watertown Conneticut for the few days after proves how effective Anonymous can be at getting news from where it is happening to large audiences almost instantly. Major news corporations were told to stay out of the area with the police, the only camera footage was from the press area, and the only news coming out of CNN and Fox was second or third hand all stemming from the same area. @YourAnonNews (#YAN) however is a different case. Normal citizens within the militarized zone were tweeting pictures of soldiers in the neighborhoods and telling stories of home searches happening within the zone. Anonymous was able to get clear and true knowledge out faster than anyone else because the contributors were normal everyday citizens. It was not written in fancy prose or with a journalistic feel, but it was truth and knowledge coming straight out of the media free zone.
3. They are digital revolutionaries fighting for human rights
Anonymous can send messages to the government that normal citizens cannot. Citizens can write letters to their house representatives or senators, and hope and pray that their voices are heard, but Anonymous can go directly to the source and be heard by the high level officials. Take for instance the most recent protest that Anonymous arranged. A major internet blackout in protest of the internet bill CISPA. CISPA in brief according to PCMagazine “would allow for voluntary information sharing between private companies and the government in the event of a cyber attack. If the government detects a cyber attack that might take down Facebook or Google, for example, they could notify those companies. At the same time, Facebook or Google could inform the feds if they notice unusual activity on their networks that might suggest a cyber attack.” Essentially, if anything the government deems “suspicious” is typed into any U.S. based site the site owners will no longer be legally obligated to protect their users privacy. Anonymous began a cyber revolution and a mass internet blackout on April 22, 2013 to bring awareness to people about how their fourth amendment rights are being infringed by this bill. The point of their protest began after CISPA passed the house of representatives and they asked all those who would listen to send a letter to their senators asking them not to pass the bill through the senate. The blackout itself was a mass protest to build momentum in the revolution against CISPA.
Anonymous shows up in cyberspace as well as in the real world. Not everything they do is moral, not everything productive for everyone in the world. But what they do they always do with a purpose. They start revolutions and create a voice for the voiceless. Obviously, I believe that Anonymous is a much needed voice speaking the truth to world powers. However, the truth comes at a cost, learning about what goes on behind the green curtain isn’t for everyone. They are at the front lines of an online battle for the masses with soldiers from the masses. But the real question is: Does America and the
rest of the world need Anonymous? All illegal activity included, does the world need what they do for the common people and the spread of news and knowledge?
(Coverphoto from Bubblews.com)