“the final boss of the internet”
Anonymous has people from many strata, many many different skill sets.
A minority are actually strong technical players, most likely.
Origins at MIT. Tech model railway club??
There’s also /trolls/. Point of trolling is to get people as pissed off as possible as you possibly can. Similar to some of the Anonymous Ops, where they’re trying to piss off or annoy orgs.
Cult of the dead cow was an alternate persona of the Lopht which was for silly things. Research stuff was by Lopht.
“Hacktivism” - coined in Lopht or Cult of the dead cow, originally for software that allowed people in other countries to communicate securely with gov surveillance.
German courts ruled that DDoSing was a legitimate form of protest. In response to Lufthansa airline DDoS.
Anonymous grew out of 4chan. 4chan organized into topics, but then there was the /b/ board, where anything goes. Half the posts are just disgusting, in order to get people to not want to come back.
4chan founder talking about how we’re moving toward “persistent identity”, such as Facebook. He calls it a lack of privacy.
4chan won’t archive threads that aren’t popular, so it almost rewards memes. Things that are humorous or disgusting.
4chan bourned the name of anonymous, because the posts on 4chan are “Anonymous” as the title. The idea being what if all the 4chan posts were just one guy/girl posting all this stuff under that pseudo name.
Messing with Habbo hotel, where you have an avatar and walk around. They would mess with people. People from /b/ would invade, all with one character avatar that they made, and they’d make Swasicka. This was sort of the start, where they realized that their numbers could do something.
These memes were sort of the language through which Anonymous were talking. They were able to recognize each other by making these references from /b/ board/memes. Such as “over 9000”.
All of this origin/meme stuff started turning into more organized stuff in late 06 early 07. When they went after neo-Nazi Hal Turner. But this was still non-technical, just pranksters. They would call him and mess with him, mess with comments on his website. They DDoS’d him. Signed him up for escorts of Craigslist, sent pizzas to his house. Sent him supplies that he would have to pay for. Eventually couldn’t pay for his radio show. Took him off the Internet. Finally, hack into his servers and find from his email that we was an FBI informant.
Then people started joining anonymous thinking it was hacktivism, which actually made it more hacktivistic. But the original group didn’t like it because they really were nihilistic.
January 2008 - Anonymous is stronger, then Scientology threatens sites with legal action. Some people then made Scientology a target because they were essentially trying to censor the internet. They made their first video, telling Scientology that they were declaring war. This is what sort of launched them into a movement. Then they called everyone to go into the streets and protest Scientology buildings. They had to find a mask so that Scientology wouldn’t stalk them. These protests were huge, hit over 9,000 attendees across the world. Got to meet other people.
Call them “Anons”.
Everyone thought it was male only, but turned out to have a good mix of women and men.
There was a rift in Anonymous that was due to fact that there were all these people now who cared about activism and not the lols, and other people who just wanted the lols. So the lols people in Anonymouses name posted strobes on Epilepsy forums.
Then they DDoS’d the Australian government. Which was the first time they went after a government. Because they were going to block Internet porn that contained women with small breasts (presumably to discourage pedophilia).
When the Motion Picture Association hired an Indian software firm to DDoS The Pirate Bay, Anonymous DDoS’d the MPA, and others.
Then Wikileaks released an enormous amount of classified files. Then PayPal, Amazon, and Mastercard pulled support for Wikileaks donations. Which was nuts, because they still were accepting donations for Nazi groups etc. So Anonymous DDoS’d PayPal.
Then they got involved with Tunisia, who blocked access to Wikileaks. So they DDoSed, first time they got into non-Internet activism sort of.
Then Egypt. Tweet on people’s behalf, because they blocked Twitter. Then the Egyptian government just shut down the internet. Anonymous tried to DoS sites, hacktivists were sending information on how people could get online using dial up connections.
Then the FBI started cracking down on Anonymous for their Mastercard and PayPal attacks.
Aaron Barr tells a journalist that he’s been monitoring the Anonymous and identifying leaders. He’s the head of HBGary Federal. But he had no correct information. Then he got owned by a small group of participants, who hacked the shit out of him. They uncovered a PowerPoint which was a proposal by Palantir and HBGary to put calculated misinformation into Wikileaks to discredit its reputation. In that proposal, they wanted to destroy the reputation of Glenn Greenwald.
Then OpSony. Because geohot hacked the Sony Playstation, Sony sued him, and then Anonymous wanted to fight back. They DDoS’d, and then also apparently hacked and leaked 77 million account information.
Lulzsec: small group, many of those who hacked HBGary, formed a group for doing stuff outside of anonymous. They were from anonymous though. Many of them were caught. Many Anons thought they went too far; didn’t like the fact that they doxed people. They broke into senate.gov.
Doxing (actually means docs, which is like your personal documents).
They usually use Pastebin to post the results of their attacks.
Topics from class to touch on:
• Hype cycle (curve)
• Networked individual (how people use tech, increase in people online)
⁃ Now that so many more people are online globally, becomes a threat to governments.
• Virtual reality (Google Cardboard)
⁃ The real-time information coming out of Egypt really motivated Anonymous to do something.
• Taking back power in the digital age (musicians against streaming services and debtors against creditors. The Debt collective thing.
⁃ Related to debt collective, Anonymous is really about individuals being able to fight against a system and realizing they are in collective bigger than the system.
• Fandom, music, social media. How musicians interact with their fans.
• Andrew Sullivan on blogging
• Google person talking to the class (I asked about involvement with government. Local issue because data centers are in NC)
• Pew report (I did Snowden)
⁃ Regarding my Pew Report,
• Citizen Four
⁃ HBGary actually planned to destroy reputation of Glenn Greenwald
• Journalism after Snowden
• Tor and the Abblebaum talks about Tor
⁃ Tor is an essential part of Anonymous, and necessary for correct Anonymous internet usage.
• Six degrees of separation
⁃ Do PGP
• Paradox of success (success can be manipulated)
• Book report on Abblebaum and Cypherpunks
• Memes with Dawkins
⁃ Both memes and Anonymous were born out of 4chan. Anonymous actually uses memes as a way of identifying its members.
• Does the internet actually inhibit/encourage democracy? The medium is the message.
⁃ Anonymous argues that the unfiltered Internet that it’s trying to protect is important for free speech.
• Online dating
• Digital cosmopolitans, ethan zuckerman (being involved and engaged with your community)
⁃ What Ethan Zuckerman really wanted is actually occurring in Anonymous in many ways, as you have Hacktivists from around the globe weighing in on issues, Internet related or not, in other cultures. Sure, many of these are within similar cultures (France), but you also have Tunisia and Egypt.
Questions he poses to help:
• Who is in the community? why?
⁃ Its makeup is primarily Internet vigilantes right now who want to do something about internet censorship.
• Describe the community in terms we’ve used in the class (relate to viewings where appropriate)
• Evaluate the community’s potentials and inherent conflicts and resolutions
• Does the community develop trust? how? is it an example of participatory culture? how?
• Are there hierarchies in place? who are those who make community of readers and participants? is the social network measurable?
• How does this site reuse or converge with popular culture? Does allow for sociability or block social interactions?
• Are there systems for sanctions and/or rewards in place? do they work?