Hacker groups like “Anonymous” add mystery and conspiracy to something we use everyday: the internet….who actually is in control?….Does anonymous work for someone…or are they just some vague entity that anyone can join?
Who really controls what happens on the internet?
The activist group known as Anonymous started out in a 2003 chat forum as a group of pranksters trolling the internet. In the beginning, they mainly focused on disrupting social networks, making crank calls over Skype, and basically provoking and upsetting people. The motivation at the time was “just for the LULZ”, or having a laugh at another’s expense.
The only requirement for membership is to claim to be anonymous. So as the ever-changing membership evolves, their actions have grown beyond rick-rolling stunts, to include more advanced internet attacks designed to shut down websites and publish private user info. They have also taken their anonymous actions into the real world by protesting in public wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, like the rebellious vigilante in the movie V for Vendetta.
Generally as a group, they defend piracy and their right to freely share information, music and software; and are rebellious against copyright laws and the corporations who profit by them. They have been strong supporters of democratic revolution throughout the Arab Spring, and the Occupy Wall Street movements.
They have shut down hundreds of websites promoting child pornography, racial hate, and homophobia.
They have made revenge cyberattacks against various financial institutions like Visa, Mastercard and Paypal; the Isreal and Al’Queda militaries; the CIA and various police agencies; religious organizations; as well as popular online video games like Minecraft, League of Legends, and Sony Playstation.
Since Anonymous isn’t an actual organization, just a random collective of people who choose to remain unknown, there is no clear statement of principles that the group is accountable to, and there is considerable debate from within regarding many of their actions. As a result, their agenda is sometimes at odds with itself, and it’s never clear what the next Anonymous action will be.
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Video credit to Strange Mysteries YouTube channel