Putting a Face on Anonymous



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Hacking is not attacking your friend’s Facebook page that they left logged in on your computer. The hacking subculture is totally removed from the mainstream, a radical anarchy. It is a complex issue that has been converted into popular culture by Hollywood, in films such as The Hacker and Matrix. ‘Hack zines’ like Phrack and 2600 further brought the culture to life.

Mainstream media have also made this issue present in every citizen’s life, most notably the case regarding Julian Assange. Project B – Assange’s code name for a thirty-eight-minute video taken from the cockpit of an Apache military helicopter in Iraq in 2007 (Khatchadourian 2010). The frightening and disturbing film was a military secret and is what brought Assange to fame and gave him a celebrity status in the eyes of Anonymous.

Wikileaks as defined by Khatchadourian (2010) is a site that has published an extensive catalogue of secrete material, ranging form the standard Operating Procedures at Camp Delta, in Guantanamo Bay, and the “Climategate” e-mails from the University of East Angila, in England, to the contents of Sarah Palin’s private Yahoo account. Assange himself calls Wikileaks “an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis”. In plain English Assange and his team on Project B were unstoppable and it was only until recently that Assange hit a brick wall. Since June 2012 he has been inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been granted diplomatic asylum.

Assange has now inspired a new generation of hactivists known as Anonymous. Defined by Wikipedia (2013) – Anonymous is a decentralized virtual community. They are commonly referred to as an Internet based collective of hactivists whose goals, like its organisation are decentralized. All hackers have a similar ethic that is to seek awareness and revolutionism information that ‘should’ be free to everyone. For them hacking is a religion, they live and breath it.

“And then it happened..a door opened to a world..rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict’s veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge form the day-to-day incompetencies is sought…a board is found. “this is it..this is where I belong..” – The Mentor – Conscience of a Hacker.

Assange’s new published book Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet rings a justifiable strident alarm bell over the erosion of individual privacy rights and by an increasingly powerful global surveillance industry (Morris 2013). I find this issue extremely important as privacy is becoming redundant in our digital lives. We have information online that will come back to haunt us in the future. Once it’s out there it’s there forever!


About Nicola Salter

Nicola. 21. UOW Graduate
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6 Responses to Putting a Face on Anonymous

  1. chjvu says:

    It is interesting to see that Assange has written a book about concerns regarding individual privacy rights, when his Wikileaks themselves hold the power to infringe these rights. Hacktivism shouldn’t be considered only as medium of protest between the individual and institution but also a threat to individual privacy as well. What is there to guarantee that these hackers would not hack into other individuals’ accounts just because they disagree with these individuals’ perspectives?

  2. pakkaponow says:

    I think that hacking into other people computer for their own personal use is a bad things but i think that if they hack and find a secret that can improve something, that really is not a bad things. For example, WikiLeaks published many secret information and shows what actually happen in Iraq is a good things because all of these information is really hard for professional journalists to obtain and we will never know of this. Government will try to use every method to control these information, from non violent method to violent method.

  3. sineadryan13 says:

    I think it is so ironic that Assange has written a book on privacy of individuals on the Internet, When everything he and hacktivism stands for pretty much infringes the privacy of a very large amount of people. Although I do believe that what he does through infringing privacy and naming and shaming powerful people and organsiations is a great thing for society as a whole. I do completely agree with you that Hollywood has turned the complexity that hacking and hacktivism holds into mainstream popular culture, and through doing this people now associate this complex practice with a friend ‘hacking’ their Facebook wall through writing an embarrassing status. This link provides an extensive list of movies that have been based on hacking- http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/antivirusantispyware/tp/The-Best-Hacker-Movies.htm

  4. I love this whole topic, the idea of Assange using “Hacking” – something that is often considered as bad and evil, for the greater good. I also love that “Anonymous” have stepped up to join the charge, attacking hate filled organisations such as the Westboro Baptist Church. The best part of them I have found is that their mask has become a symbol of defiance and is often seen at protests such as Occupy Wallstreet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLrraNUAk2c

  5. seb807 says:

    I believe that whilst hacking into peoples personal computers in order to try and steal their identity or find out personal information such as financial information and bank details, is a terrible thing. on the other hand if the result of hacking leads to having a massive secret revealed to the world which could in turn improve the lives of many individuals then I personally view that as a positive outcome.
    When Wiki-leaks released the private documents showing what was actually happening in Iraq it was able to show the world that what we were really fighting for. People were suddenly questioning whether the input of the western world was necessary not to mention every bit of information that our governments had been telling us.

  6. edabbott says:

    I think while there are ‘bad hackers’ who hack for no good reason other than for their own benefit, I also think that the media places ethical hackers like Julian Assange in the same spectrum of hackers as these unethical hackers. I believe hackers who do so for the better of the world should be commended for standing up for what’s right, even though it may sometimes be illegal. They should be commended for sticking it to governments hiding important information from the people they are supposed to be governing. By doing what they’re doing, ‘ethical hackers’ are keeping governments honest and accountable in their governing, and I think the world is a better place for it.

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