I’m going to start this one off by saying that I know I am setting myself up here for a full onslaught of attacks, but there are some things that cannot be left alone. That being said, please go watch this video before reading the remainder of this article.
To members of the “hacker” community, this post actually may come off as a little sacrilegious to some, but I ask that you hear me out before making any quick judgements. It is very easy to be sympathetic to this group given what it claims it stands for. This video is actually propaganda at it’s finest. It appeals to every soul that sees the government as the big-bad attacking some small innocent group that just wants to be heard. It’s brilliant in all honesty, but it is nothing more than propaganda.
I’m not going to sit here and argue about legality of what they do – that would just be silly. What I will contest is the questionable morality and hypocrisy of what is being done. I have no problem with a group or person taking a political stance and discussing or openly debating it. I have no problem with a them enabling others to speak out for themselves (all things that Anonymous has done has a hacktivist organization). Where I begin to draw issue is when any organization decides to take action that is damaging to others, whether that is the opposition or innocent bystanders caught in the cross-fire.
The organization has been known to help out in cases where people would have not been heard had Anonymous not given them the ability to speak, but Anonymous supporting an organization like Wikileaks is when I first began taking issue. While Wikileaks claims to be all about exposing the truth that “the people to deserve to know” – what they are actually doing is putting lives at stake. Without getting into the politics behind it all, I’ll just say this: when what you are doing puts innocent lives at stake, you are no longer acting for “the greater good”. At that point, you are self-focused on a goal. Morality says this is wrong.
Anonymous has been known in the past for it’s usage of DDoS attacks and defacing of websites to shutdown the voices and services of others. They silence the opposition. The justification that they use is just silly. Claiming that “Arresting somebody for taking part in a DDoS attack is exactly like arresting somebody for attending a peaceful demonstration in their hometown” is a wildly false statement. Performing a DDoS attack, or defacing a website for comments that are not favorable to your cause is more like bombing and abortion clinic, or spray painting defamatory remarks on your neighbor’s home.
In some cases this can be acceptable (though ill-advised and illegal) – for instance when you are defending yourself from being attacked as they did with HBGary Federal, but attacking groups that have no means of defending themselves from such attacks, or the means to retaliate other than to involve the law (which you then attack them for) is hypocritical and immoral.
Why did I feel the need to talk about this tonight? It is no secret that support that the hacker community. I even support the ideals that they claim to stand for. I support the enabling of groups that have no ability to speak out for themselves. What I do not support is the hypocrisy and immorality of the actions that the organization tends to take. As it turns out, what they end up being is no better than those that they claim to stand against.
That’s my venting for the evening. Bring on the attacks.