In Search of Heroism: Anonymous Today

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The Anonymous today has grown into an apparent multifaceted organization which chooses its targets randomly. But Coleman claims the opposite, as participants usually choose targets responsively (follow up case studies validates Coleman’s argument).

The bottomless appetite that the press have for sensationalism has made Anonymous’ notoriety an ideal subject of coverage. Riding on the endless hunger of the media, Anonymous has made themselves heard through various media, including the Internet — Operation Payback, Operation Megaupload, Operation BART, Operation Quebec, Operation India, Operation Last Resort …… the list goes on.

In examination of the relations between the Anonymous today and the qualities of a hero, the findings were:

Anonymous still fall short from becoming a hero because:
Anonymous displays a mixed characteristics of a hero and anti-hero;
Anonymous uses illegal method in the course of its operation;
Anonymous still, during the course of its operation, conduct acts of trolling for ‘the lulz’,

and the following validates it:

Operation BART: In response to the jamming of mobile phone signal on its station platform in order to disrupt planned protests against police brutality by the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), BART’s database were hacked and its customers information were leaked(doxing). The follow up act was a submission semi-nude photo of BART’s spokesman, Linton Johnson to the “bartlulz” website with a bold rationalization (not to mentioned that his personal information was doxed as well):

“If you are going to be a dick to the public, then I’m sure you don’t mind showing your dick to the public” (Bartlulz, 2011).

Operation Megaupload: Following the shut down of the popular file-sharing site Mega Upload and it’s founder, Kim Dotcom arrested. Anonymous launched its largest DDoS campaign to date (Coleman, 2013) in which US government and record label sites were taken down 15 minutes after the shut down of Megaupload, in which Anonymous tweeted:

“The government takes down #Megaupload? 15 minutes later #Anonymous takes down government & record label sites. #ExpectUs” (YourAnonNews, 2012).

Here we can find that despite showing some characteristics of a hero, which is, fighting for the people’s justice against police brutality (Operation BART) and the believe of Internet freedom (Operation Megaupload, which confirms us if bills like Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is legalized, Internet censorship would be occurring not less equal than that of a person’s breathing), Anonymous still demonstrated some anti-hero attributes such as the submission of BART’s spokesperson’s semi-nude photo online to taunt the associated parties and the leaking of BART’s customers’ personal information.

Anonymous has definitely gained the limelight for its operations, driving admiration and fear out of people at different times, and both properties are exhibited in Operation BART alone: admiration for Anonymous’ stand against police brutality, and fear for Anonymous’ ability to strike fearlessly and mercilessly (most of the time illegally by doxing).

Examinations so far has shown that Anonymous is beginning to show some heroic attributes, but its anti-hero characteristics still overshadows its heroic attributes. Could it be, after all, that Anonymous is not the hero that we’re looking for?

 

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Coleman, G (2013). Anonymous in Context: The Politics and Power behind the Mask. [PDF] The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Available at: <http://www.cigionline.org/sites/default/files/no3_8.pdf> [Accessed on 13th January, 2014]

YourAnonNews (2012). The government takes down #Megaupload? 15 minutes later #Anonymous takes down government & record label sites. #ExpectUs. [Twitter] 20th January. Available at: <https://twitter.com/YourAnonNews/status/160114848917757952>

 

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