Anonymous: The Batmen of the Internet

A vigilante hacking group is trying to make a worldwide impact on the web, standing up for personal freedom.

They are referred to as a group vigilante hackers. A secret organization that will go after anyone that restricts the freedom of the public. And they call themselves Anonymous.

A week ago, Anonymous went after the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in San Francisco after BART blocked cell phone service in its stations to prevent a protest. BART police have been the subject of controversy for the past couple years, killing two passengers in alleged unjust circumstances. Anonymous was not part of the original protest, but as soon as the group found out BART was blocking the freedom of information from the public (cell service), they became involved.

This piqued my interest, mainly because the more I researched Anonymous the more the whole thing seemed like a comic book. I went on Anonymous’ Youtube channel to find a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask (famous from "V for Vendetta") talking to me in a distorted voice about ending world hunger and world catastrophe. Incredibly eerie? Yes. Skeptical? Of course. But also, intriguing.

As I learned more about Anonymous, the more powerful they appeared. They hacked BART’s website, making in unusable, two days after the protest, just like they promised.

And this was far from their first attack.

In April, Anonymous took down the Sony Playstation Network for several days after Sony filed a lawsuit against a hacker for jailbreaking the system (making it able to run other operating systems). Days later, Sony agreed to drop the lawsuit.

In June, several people were arrested in Orlando for feeding the homeless. Less than a week later Anonymous followed up its promise on Youtube and took down various websites in the Orlando community, just leaving a message on each site– "Boycott Orlando."

However, these vigilant attacks were not all good. In the BART hack, Anonymous released the contact information to a couple thousand users of the BART system.

Sony users couldn’t play Playstation online for days.

Many of the sites hacked in Orlando had nothing to do with the arrest.

Too often these attacks are hurting the people Anonymous meant to help.

Now, Anonymous released a video about an attack on Facebook. The organization plans to hack Facebook November 5th, because it believes the social networking site gives out too much personal information.

But regardless of the result, these attacks show an incredible power the resides in the Internet. A whole subculture of good and evil has been created online. A real-life comic book.

To us, this means online video is only going to become more popular and more valuable. We are excited to see the future of web and video’s impact on it.

Is Anonymous doing more good or bad targeting organizations that are depriving the public of freedom?