The Soul Of The New Hacktivist: NYT

Mar 18th, 2012 anonymity, wikileaks

On March 17th, 2012, Somini Sengupta wrote for the New York Times on the phenomenon of hacktivism and Anonymous.  With regard to Anonymous, Sengupta noted that we still haven't really figured out what the group is.  Is Anonymous a group of criminals?  Are they just making political protests?  Or, as my favorite Wired article explained, could Anonymous be a trickster, sort of like a modern day Loki?

Well, we're still not sure.  Anonymous is multifaceted and amorphous.  The article explained how Anonymous fought repression in Tunisia, advocated for animal rights in Tennessee, defended WikiLeaks, and yet will still enlisted innocent computer users into DDOS attacks on federal websites and attacked the Vatican.  It's that back and forth, that lack of a coherent direction that makes Anonymous so frustrating. 

Indeed, as Sengupta noted, "Anybody can be Anonymous.  And anybody who calls himself Anonymous can carry out an attack in its name."  Anonymous will try to help people one day, but the next day they'll threaten to bring the internet's root servers.  Seemingly, their only constant is their love of that Guy Fawkes mask . . .

800px-Anonymous_at_Scientology_in_Los_AngelesBecause nothing says "fight the man" like paying Warner Bros. $20 . . .

Wikimedia

Whatever Anonymous is seeking, Sengupta believes that it "rewrote the hacktivist playbook" because it can challenge the "broader political and economic order."  I'll be curious to see how the organization (or lack thereof) reacts after the arrests of the LulzSec hackers.  Is Anonymous really a leaderless organization built on an idea?  Can it really challenge the political and economic order?  Or will Anonymous die and wither away, unable to trust its fellow hackers?

You can find the NYT source article here.    

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Authors

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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