Monday, May 14, 2012

Anonymous insider talks

A member of the hacker collective Anonymous did a media interview while hiding in Canada. They mention that Fox News has branded them terrorists, which of course is quite different from my impression of them because I don't watch Fox News. While sometimes I feel that their actions go too far, their most common action is temporarily taking a web site offline in protest, or hacking groups they don't like and making some of their internal emails public. Terrorism? I doubt that those who have lost a loved one to actual terrorism would appreciate that kind of rhetoric. Here's the part I found most insightful:

I think the general public is beginning to learn the value of information. To give an example, for a very long time nobody in the U.S. or the world was allowed to know the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan or Iraq. There were wild guesses and they were all over the ballpark figures, until a young army private named Bradley Manning had the courage to steal that information from the U.S. government and release it. Now we know that despite their smart munitions and all their high-technology they have somehow managed to accidentally kill 150,000 civilians in two countries. ... As these kinds of startling facts come out, the public will begin to realize the value of the information and they will realize that the activists are risking everything for that information to be public.

Q: What do you say to people who believe Anons are just cyber-terrorists?
A: Basically I decline the semantic argument. If you want to call me a terrorist, I have no problem with that. But I would ask you, "Who is it that’s terrified?" If it’s the bad guys who are terrified, I’m really super OK with that. If it’s the average person, the people out in the world we are trying to help who are scared of us, I’d ask them to educate themselves, to do some research on what it is we do and lose that fear. We’re fighting for the people, we are fighting, as Occupy likes to say, for the 99%. It’s the 1% people who are wrecking our planet who should be quite terrified. If to them we are terrorists, then they probably got that right.

"Information terrorist" – what a funny concept. That you could terrorize someone with information. But who’s terrorized? Is it the common people reading the newspaper and learning what their government is doing in their name? They’re not terrorized – they’re perfectly satisfied with that situation. It’s the people trying to hide these secrets, who are trying to hide these crimes. The funny thing is every email database that I’ve ever been a part of stealing, from Pres. Assad to Stratfor security, every email database, every single one has had crimes in it. Not one time that I’ve broken into a corporation or a government, and found their emails and thought, "Oh my God, these people are perfectly innocent people, I made a mistake."

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