I have been writing a piece on Anonymous lately, thought I'd share it with you guys.
WARNING: is long.
Dear citizen of the world,
you may or may not have heard of Anonymous, which is an Internet collective concentrating on a shared idea, the idea of radical free speech. We hereby want to inform you of the true nature of Anonymous and why it is of importance to you.
Since the rise of the phenomenon globally known as the Internet, the possibilities for people to connect have exponentially grown in a very short time and have come to form the first self-organizing, free thinking collaboration of minds acting on a global scale to fight for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves. Anonymous is a leaderless group, whose identity anyone can take on and connect to the buzzing hive-mind that spawns the actions of Anonymous. So, in a very real way, Anonymous is you.
Firstly, Anonymous concentrated its efforts against the "Church of Scientology", then later it included other targets, as the global events taking place in cyberspace unfolded.
In 2010 Mastercard, Visa and others stopped processing of donations to Wikileaks, a platform where secret information can be legally published and read by anyone. This caused a major outrage in those who thought of themselves as Anonymous. Quickly, an already existing operation, Operation:Payback, was directed at the web presences of the companies, bringing them all down, one by one, with a method which is best compared to a virtual sit-in called DDoSing (Distributed Denial of Service). Everyone willing to participate flooded the target pages in a synchronized attack with great heaps of useless information, thus causing the sites to deny service to users.
Only weeks later, in a moment of truly world-changing quality, the Tunisian people decided to do away with their gruesome dictator, Ben Ali. Anonymous saw this effort, and saw the hardships the Tunisian people had to suffer not only in the real world, but also in Cyberspace. In the latter, Anonymous could help. This time not only targeting the government sites of the hated Ministry of Interior and others, but also compiling a "care pack" for Tunisian Web-users, to enable them to get around the firewall of censorship in their country. Notably, Anonymous was amongst the very few ones to hear the outcry of the Tunisian people before their government decided to answer it with brutal violence. We provided our brothers in Tunisia with the much needed tools for anonymous communication and coordination, thus helping them to self-organize and finally oust their hated dictator. By no means is Anonymous taking credit for the uprising, it solely is taking credit in noticing and helping when no one else would. After Tunisia, the revolutionary wave carried on to Egypt and future history will tell where else. Still, Anonymous is directing all its effort to help the people of all oppressed countries to collect and exchange information uncensored.
Defining Anonymous as a whole is no easy task. Some might even say it is impossible, and they are probably right. So we will let actions decide what Anonymous truly is. You may ask, "what is my part in this?". Let me give you an answer. Your part is to become, be and stay informed of the world around you. Do so from a wide range of angles. And when you see that there is someone in need of help, cry out "Anonymous, we have to act!" and participate in the breathtaking buzz of selforganizing Operations. In the world of total connectivity you need not lean back and say, "But I can't change anything!", no, you can partake in actions, that may not be world-changing for themselves, but that are the fabric of change itself. The idea of lending your creativity and time to an organism, that is coordinating all the voices by the power of spontaneous order out of chaos, is awing all by itself, to say the least. Being able to have an impact on human society as a whole by doing so, is the joy that we Anons, as we call ourselves, are rewarded with.
Adressing the legal questions that arise of the existence and the actions of Anonymous, there are a few things we would like to be understood. Anonymous does not destroy or even "hack". DDoSing, as every serious hacker would tell you, is as much about hacking, as sit-ins are about breaking into offices and stealing property. Nevertheless, some governments around the world deem it necessary to criminalize this act of protest. The United States of America and the United Kingdom have even issued arrest warrants against "members" of Anonymous for attacking the web presences of corporations as Mastercard and Visa, that denied processing of funds to Wikileaks. But one must take into account that over 9000 people around the whole world took part in these attacks. Doesn't that seem more like a protest than the malicious attack of "hackers"?
So ask yourself once more, "What do I care?", look deep inside you and at just the right place, you can see your connection to all the other human beings out there you would like to help, free and welcome to this wonderful common Infosphere we call the Internet.
So if you feel this urge toward a united humanity, free of oppression and censorship, you instantly know the foolishness of that question. The answer is contained in every fibre of the mind and the body, in the will to be free and to free others. This feeling is what defines Anonymous and is the force that drives it. If you know that feeling, you already are Anonymous. If not, maybe, just maybe you should ask yourself if you feel there is something lacking in your life.
Ultimately, Anonymous is a very human entity. One should be hesitant to call it superhuman, but it definitely carries a transhuman motion. It may not even be fully aware of that, but Anonymous is swarm-like, emergent and self-organizing. It's methods reign supreme when it comes to flexibility and quick responses, proving the efficiency of the concept of leaderlessness in a hyperconnected environment. Most of all, Anonymous is real. It is a concept, an idea, yet it has an effect on what some people like to call "the outside world". It is a radically new form of idea and it is evolving fast. It is becoming more powerful with every idea that is shared and it is here to stay. We Anons have a saying:
"We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not Forgive.
We do not Forget.