Anonymous: a new political force?
Anonymous, the Anonymous movement, idea or “Internet meme,” to use Wikipedia characterisation, has become an increasingly important actor on the global political scene, which cannot be ignored anymore.
It is, however, rarely seen as a political actor, despite Anonymous’ evolution, as Al Jazeera’s excellent timeline makes quite clear, as Quinn Norton for Wired details with her very interesting three-part series examining the history of Anonymous, or as shown on the video A Short, Strange History of Anonymous posted by Ryan Singel for Wired.
It is rather usually labelled as a group composed of hacktivists (most media), hackers and IT criminals (e.g. Interpol), even recently as hackers who “could have the ability within the next year or two to bring about a limited power outage through a cyber attack” in the US, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, citing comments by the Director of the National Security Agency U.S. Cyber Command Gen. Keith Alexander, done “in private meetings at the White House and elsewhere“(CNET).
On the contrary, for Anonymous participants (Anons), Anonymous is indeed “an idea,” (AP citing twitter) “the will of the people” (CNET interview). Accordingly, Anonymous creates strong reactions on a large spectrum ranging from sympathy and admiration to fear and dislike according to a recent ongoing internet polls done by SodaHeadNews.
As time allows, I shall try to follow and document here, the evolution of Anonymous as a political actor, from a political science point of view.
Gorman, Siobhan “Alert on Hacker Power Play: U.S. Official Signals Growing Concern Over Anonymous Group’s Capabilities,” The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2012. Accessed 5 March 2012.
Haddad, Mohammed, “Interactive timeline: Anonymous – A history of the global cyberactivist movement, from “lulz” to revolutions,” Al Jazeera, Last Modified: 19 May 2011. Accessed 5 March 2012.
Interpol, Media release, “Hackers reportedly linked to ‘Anonymous’ group targeted in global operation supported by INTERPOL,” 28 February 2012. Accessed 5 March 2012.
Keller, Greg “Interpol says suspected Anonymous hackers arrested,” Associated Press, 29 February 2012. Accessed 5 March 2012.
Mills, Elinor, “How Anonymous channels ‘the will of the people – Q&A,” February 28, 2012, CNET. Accessed 5 March 2012.
Norton, Quinn, three-part series examining the history of Anonymous, December 2011 -January 2012, Wired. Accessed 5 March 2012.
Reisinger, Don, “Scared of Anonymous? NSA chief says you should be,” CNET, February 21, 2012. Accessed 5 March 2012.
Singel, Ryan, A Short, Strange History of Anonymous (video), January 6, 2012, Wired. Accessed 5 March 2012.
SodaHead News Polls, “Police Arrest 25 ‘Anonymous’ Hackers: Is Anonymous Admirable or Adverse?” started February 29, 2012, SodaHead News. 1,034 votes and 1,198 opinions on March 5, 2012. Accessed 5 March 2012.
Wikipedia, “Anonymous (group).” Accessed 5 March 2012.