"I Am Anonymous": a Look at the Hacktivism Movement

#History

Wed, Oct 16th, 2013 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Esquire, John H. Richardson looks at the story behind Deric Lostutter, aka KYAnonymous, the anonymous hactivist that brought to light the rapists in Steubenville, contemplating on what a generation that includes Bradley Manning and Edward Snowen is capable of doing.

[...] what really grabbed Lostutter was the famous move into "hactivism" in 2008, when the hacker punks took on the Church of Scientology by shutting down its Web sites and summoning thousands to live protests ? the first appearance of the Guy Fawkes masks now common to protests all over the world. And just like that, without meetings or minutes, Anonymous was born. The FBI added rebel glamour by responding with arrests, putting one nineteen-year-old away for a year just for helping to shut down a Web site for twenty-four hours. After the government pressured Pay Pal, MasterCard, and Visa to stop routing contributions to WikiLeaks, new Anonymous factions instantly sprang up to crash their Web sites, too. When the FBI responded with forty raids and at least fourteen arrests, new recruits immediately opened new fronts in this war, threatening the officers who ran the brig where Bradley Manning was being held naked while others hacked into the U. S. Senate Web site and another took down the Web site of the CIA. One audacious group hacked into the computers of a pair of military contractors named Stratfor and HBGary Federal, revealing sordid plans to discredit liberal muckraker Glenn Greenwald, manipulate public opinion, and infiltrate activist groups. Others shut down government Web sites in Egypt and Libya and helped Tunisian protesters looking to keep government secret police out of their computers.

The thing is, these are all kids just like Deric Lostutter. Most of them are in their twenties, and some are teenagers. One of the geniuses behind the HBGary hack was an eighteen-year-old from the Shetland Islands who called himself Topiary. Another was a twenty-four-year-old soldier who posed online as a sixteen-year-old girl named Kayla. Multiply that by hundreds, thousands, maybe someday even millions. Because you don't have to sit at home complaining about your crappy job, your crappy town, your crappy country. Anyone can join. All you have to do is find your way to the private Internet Relay Chat channel for newbies and start listening to the conversation.

And Lostutter thought, Fuck yeah, America. Finally someone's getting off their ass. I want to roll with these people!

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