Say hello to the Anonymous Hacktivists
Anonymous hackers are held to be a bunch of internet trolls hacking popular websites for lulz, but there’s a lot more to it. Read our mini guide to Anonymous hacktivists… l33t before we all even knew what it meant.
Internet trolling? Sure. Maybe. But Anonymous are very involved in political matters. They’re all about questioning and challenging the status quo, and it’s up to each member to decide what the status quo is that they aim to question and challenge. Anons often have street protests (they recently had a street march protesting against police brutality) and have several blogs where they keep other Anons posted on matters like the SOPA act, anti-anti-online piracy, the 2012 Presidential Election… all that stuff that affects everyone but somehow gets sidelined by the many. Are Anonymous an online activist organisation? Well…yeah.
Who Are Anonymous?
Anonymous has no formal structure; there is no leader or hierarchy of any kind, nor is there any “initiation” or formal way for joining. You want in? You’re in. In their own words:
“We are everywhere and anywhere. We are gay in Texas, black in 1950s Selma, Basque separatists in Spain, Kurdish in Iraq and Syria, an anarchist in France, a Palestinian in Israel, a dissident Chinese blogger, a Gypsy in Poland, an Inuit in Nunavut, a hackivist in the UK, a single woman on the Metro at 2am, a peasant without land, an Occupier in Zuccotti Park, a gang member in the slums, the boy in the cafeteria sitting alone, a protestor in Egypt, a child soldier in Somalia, an unhappy student drowning in debt, a family foreclosed upon, and of course, you.”
Of course, Anons have a policy of not having revealing anything about their identities. They don’t use names – nor do they ever show their faces. Instead they all take on complete anonymity (duh). They also use the infamous Guy Fawkes / V for Vendetta mask as their emblem. During any real-life events like the street marches, they all wear these masks, and are widely-known for their mantra:
We are Anonymous. We are legion. We never forgive and we never forget. Expect us.
What Do Anonymous Actually DO?
Tricky. This one’s hard to pinpoint, because there so many different people are involved with so many points of view. As one Anon once stated:
We just happen to be a group of people on the internet who need – just kind of an outlet to do as we wish, that we wouldn’t be able to do in regular society. … That’s more or less the point of it. Do as you wish.
Not all Anons are in it for the same thing. Some are just fed up of being pushed around by their governments and perform a bit of social activism whilst keeping their identity hidden. Some just enjoy hacking and are in it “for the lulz”. Some take it seriously to the point where they’re prepared for a worldwide revolution. Some are more dedicated than others.
Nobody speaks or acts on behalf of the whole group. You don’t have to be involved in all their activities if you don’t want to – after all, on the whole, Anonymous is more of a front that activists can use to hide their identities while they’re …activating? Yeah. Activating. Anyway, for the really dedicated Anons, of their main priorities is to protest any anti “freedom of speech” ideologies. Anonymous have often been associated with protesting the prosecution of online music pirates and most recently the SOPA/PIPA act. In the past they’re managed to hack and temporarily take down some major sites including PayPal, Tumblr, and it was even fabled that they once attempted to take down Facebook.
So in summary, there isn’t much organisation to it, everyone just kind of does their own thing, but the major core of Anonymous is social activism. Nobody really knows what they’re gonna do next, nobody is really sure if they’re the Batman or the Joker of the internet, nobody really knows what’s gonna become of them, but one thing is for sure.
You should expect them.
How Can I Get Involved?
They have plenty of blogs and they tend to lurk around on image boards (yes, I’m talking about 4Chan, but for those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s better to keep it that way and I am NOT linking you to it for your own good) and forums all over the internet. They also have a twitter account, and also have their own social network, AnonPlus.