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Anonymous Presentation

Intro slide
	•	Group of “Internet Vigilantes” 
	•	To understand who they are, must understand their history

History slide
	•	Imageboard 4chan in 2006. 
	•	Imagine “Anonymous” poster was just one person

Intro slide:
	•	I did my research on the online community “Anonymous”
	⁃	Wouldn’t really refer to them as a “hacking” group, more like Internet vigilantes. 
	⁃	To understand who they are, really need to understand their history

	•	Anonymous was born in the unfiltered online imageboard in 2006. 
	⁃	4chan is organized into topics, called boards, the /b/ board was for “Random” content. 
	⁃	The idea of /b/ was to post things that could not be unseen. Brewing place for trolls. 
	⁃	Individuals could post as “Anonymous”, and the entity got its name from the thought that there could just be one entity “Anonymous” posting all this stuff
	•	At their core, they were trolls. 
	⁃	Social networking site called Habbo Hotel  (you create an Avatar, walk around in a world. Rudimentary second life). Rumor of admins blocking dark skinned users. 
	⁃	People on /b/ heard, and all dressed up as the same avatar. Form Swastikas, block pool entrance. 
	⁃	There was a white nationalist,  Hal Turner, who apparently was targeting a member of Anon
	⁃	DDoS’d him, pizzas, sent utilities he’d have to pay for. 
	⁃	Ran him out of business. 
	⁃	Hacked his site revealed he was an FBI informant
	⁃	So both of these are trolling, but have a small moral component to them. These people thought they were doing something moral. 

Project Chanology:
	•	Everything changed with Project Chanology. 
	•	This is where Anonymous got mainstream press. 
	⁃	Recall Tom Cruse video leaked, scientology DMCA’d Youtube and everyone who posted it. 
	•	Anonymous saw this as a censorship of the Internet; fought back. 
	•	They DDoS’d, they did phone calls to clog up their hotlines, they sent black faxes (to drain ink). 
	•	For the first time, they did physical protests. 
	•	Because Scientology is known for stalking and harassing their critics, Anons needed to protect their identity in person. So this is where the Guys Fawkes mask came from. 
	•	Interestingly, Church of Scientology has used methods similar to Anonymous to get its way. In order to escape tax exception (become a religious org), it got members to file thousands of lawsuits against individual IRS employees. 

Cultural Rift:
	•	This resulted in a cultural rift in Anonymous
	•	Original group in it for the lolz, but now there was an influx of Hacktivists (people who were just motivated by something moral) 
	•	Some Anons wanted to restore their bad reputation by posting rapidly flashing animated gifs on epilepsy forums. 
	•	But it seems like the Hacktivists mostly won out. 
	•	Recall Paypal withdrawing donation acceptance for Wikileaks, so Anons attacked them. 
	•	Also attacked HBGary, and revealed HBGary’s proposal with Palantir to leak misinformation via Wikileaks. Proposal was for Bank of America, who somehow knew Wikileaks had docs on them. 
	•	Important to note that a very small portion of Anonymous is technically able. Many are just people who want to make a difference and using tools made by technically able. 

Networked Individual: 
	•	This leads us to how it relates to what we’ve talked about in class. 
	•	Lee Raine’s Networked individual shows dramatic increase of users online
	⁃	Really means a change in the way information is spread
	•	Which means new fronts for rebellion and opposition to rebellion
	•	For example, Egyptian and Tunisian people. The internet played a role in their rebellions. 
	⁃	Anons were involved with setting up dial up service. Tweeting on others’ behalf. 

Astra Taylor: 
	•	Astra Taylor talks about the Debt collective and a group of people organizing to refuse to pay off their debts because they don’t think these debts are warranted 
	•	Have this wonderful quote “If you owe the bank a thousand dollars…”
	•	Similar to Anonymous because it’s about the masses “owning” the man. 
	⁃	The idea that 10,000 angry people can send a message online against billion dollar corporations. 
	⁃	The idea that the masses have ultimate control, they just need to wake up and organize. 

Citizen Four: 
	•	Going back to HBGary, Anonymous targeted HBGary because it was publishing false information about Anonymous’ “leadership”
	⁃	Anonymous (specifically lulzsec, a much more technical group related to Anonymous) leaked all of HBGary’s emails, revealing the proposal with Palantir
	⁃	Actually wanted to damage Wikileaks by tarnishing and threatening Glenn Greenwald. Which was completely absurd. 
	•	Glenn obviously key figure in Snowden leaks. 
	•	Also relates to Journalism post-snowden, with organizations going to very questionable lengths to silence leaks. 

	•	Tor is an essential tool for both the technical and the non-technical players in Anonymous. 
	•	Actually what grants them as-close-as-possible Anonymity. 

Six degrees of separation: 
	•	So PGP, which stands for Pretty Good Privacy, is a mechanism by which I can establish a secure communication with another individual (using encryption). 
	•	Relies on verifying identity of third-parties, through “web of trust”
	•	Essentially, I need to trust someone who trusts you in order to talk to you. 
	•	Thus, would be impractical if people had to make many many hops to the person they want to talk to. 
	•	PGP is one of the many tools necessary for Anons to talk securely and untampered. 

	•	Memes are sort of used by Anonymous as an informal way of identity verification and drawing boundaries between who is an Anon and who isn’t. 
	•	Sort of means memes sort of are the language of Anons. 
	•	They also both share their birth place: 4chan. 
	⁃	4chan was purportedly responsible for creating or popularizing many popular memes, such as Rick rolling, Chocolate Rain, and lolcatz. 
	•	Anonymous isn’t an entity or website, it also is an idea, and by Dawkin’s description, it would be considered a meme. 

Digital Cosmopolitan: 
	•	Zuckerman really wanted to spur inter-cultural political involvement with
	•	Because Anonymous is really an international collective, that means that they are at least trying to get involved politically with other cultures.