Monday 29 September 2014
It’s easy to think of the hacking group Anonymous as a group of punk troublemakers, raising hell online. Some have even debated whether their extra-legal protests should be labeled terrorist acts.
But that would overlook some of the genuinely good deeds the group — whose members identify themselves with the Vendetta mask — has done.
Whether it’s retaliating against kiddie porn sites, helping to identify Chinese military cyber-attacks, or targeting the digital properties of various hate groups, Anonymous can be a force for good.
Former Anonymous and LulzSec hacktivists Mustafa Al-Bassam, Jake Davis, Darren Martyn and Ryan Ackroyd appeared together publically for first time since being convicted for computer hacking on the Royal Court Theatre stage, in conversation with Academic and Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman.
Mustafa Al-Bassam (Tflow), Jake Davis (Topiary), Darren Martyn (Pwnsauce) and Ryan Ackroyd (Kayla) are all former computer hackers, who were part of a core group arrested in 2011 for their parts in Anonymous and LulzSec and banned from the internet for two years. A ban forbidding communications between the group, or any of the wider Anonymous collective was lifted in June this year. This will be the very first time they have spoken since the day of the court case in 2011.
Gabriella Coleman trained as an anthropologist and now teaches, researches, and writes on computer hackers. Her work examines the ethics of online collaboration/institutions as well as the role of the law and digital media in sustaining various forms of political activism.
It was part of the “Big Idea” event which surrounded the new play ’Teh Internet is Serious Business’, an anarchic retelling of the birth of hacktivism, by Tim Price.
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