I can't remember when I first heard about the hacktivist group, Anonymous. It must have been at least two years ago now. I read up a bit on them, intrigued by what they were doing. Their activities, from what I could tell, were mostly along the lines of things that I agreed with, and I could honestly see a need for them. In case you're not familiar with them, they originated around 2003, so they've been going for about ten years now.

Hacktivists are activists that use hacking as a way of promoting their brand of activism. Now, like any activism group, I'm not going to agree with every single stance they've taken, or every action either, but it's pretty darn close. The reason Anonymous has been so successful in their attacks, is because there are so many of them, none being true leaders of the group. In fact, there was a documentary released in 2012 about the group, called, "We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists." I'm planning to watch is shortly, myself.

The first thing anyone will notice when seeing an Anonymous action for the first time, is the use of the Guy Fawkes mask. This mask was popularized in the 2005 movie, "V for Vendetta," but it was based on the one used in the graphic novel series of the same name that was publish from March 1982 to May 1989. The novels, set in a dystopian future United Kingdom, portrayed a revolutionary hero in the character of V. V wore the Guy Fawkes mask while he went about his revolutionary tactics. Anyone familiar with the graphic novels, or the popular movie, is well aware of the meaning behind the Guy Fawkes mask.

David Lloyd, co-creator of the graphic novels, upon learning that Anonymous was using their idea was apparently quite happy with it. In this interview with Aaron Colter for Comics Alliance, he was asked, "What does it feel like to have been part of creating a character that, years later, still stands as a symbol of rebellion?" Lloyd responded with a single word. "Good."

Considering that both Lloyd, himself, and Alan Moore, the writer of the novels, were angry with their government at the time, which was leaning more and more toward conservatism and anti-socialism, perhaps it's not surprising that he was happy to be associated with the political movement now underway.

The original onslaught of attacks by Anonymous were directed at the Church of Scientology, which is considered to be a non-mainstream religion by some, and a cult by others. Tom Cruise made some pretty outlandish headlines at one time in support of his belief in Scientology, alienating some of his fellow celebrities, and generally becoming a laughingstock in the process.

The DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks launched by Anonymous against the Church of Scientology were begun in 2008, but then petered out. Anonymous appeared to have some internal issues, but regrouped in September of 2010 to start launching more DDoS attacks against groups that were doing their own DDoS attacking against sites that were providing pirated content, such as The Pirate Bay. They managed to organize another "Payback" attack against some very large companies, including PayPal, to avenge their treatment of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Operation Darknet that began in October 2011, however, was considered, by far, its most acceptable attack to this point, and was supported by pretty much everyone in the general public that knew about it. They targeted pedophile and child pornography sites this time, shutting them down and releasing the names of those guilty of crimes against children. They weren't just targeting for a political ideal or freedom of speech this time - they were protecting children. It's no surprise that many were beginning to support their activities.

Since that time they've been involved in a number of other causes and are gaining wide acceptance - except of course from those they choose to target. Very recently they hacked the Westboro Baptist Church website and Facebook pages. They left a meme to mark their intrusion, with Star Trek: The Next Generation's cast members on it, stating, "You Should Have Expected Us."

The WBC is well known for their messages of hate, picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers, threatening to picket the funerals of the Boston Marathon Bombing victims, you name it. They spew vitriolic disgust at those who wish to obtain equal marriage rights. According to the WBC, gay marriage was to blame for the Boston Marathon Bombing. Logic isn't their strong suit.

Recently, Anonymous forced recognition of the gang rape of Jane Doe in Steubenville, Ohio. Officials that were unwilling to do anything to prosecute their town's football "heroes" were forced to place those athletes under arrest. Now, here's where it starts to get scary. One of those students will only serve up to a year for the crime of rape. The other student will face up to two years, because he compounded his crime by posted naked pictures of a minor on the internet. Sadly, many news anchors, CNN's in particular, sympathized with the rapists, worrying about the future of these 'promising young men' and lamenting the fact that they would now be listed in the sex offender registry. Well, there's nothing the least bit promising about young men who rape, except for the 'promise' that they will continue to rape.

In Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, Rehtaeh Parsons committed suicide, and her death was attributed to online distribution of photos of an alleged gang rape. The RCMP stated, after a full year of investigating the case, that there wasn't enough evidence to lay charges against the perpetrators of the crime. Her mother went online then, and started sharing the story. This was when Anonymous stepped in, protesting the disposition of the case. They announced that they had found the names of the perpetrators within hours, along with all the evidence needed to press charges, despite the RCMP's unsuccessful year-long investigation, and threatened to release the information if the RCMP did not take appropriate action.

Acceding to the wishes of Leah Parsons, Rehtaeh's mother, Anonymous did not make the names public, but by this point there was no longer a need to do so. Worldwide outrage led to the case being reopened in April of 2013. The RCMP specifically stated that credible information had come to light, that 'did not come from the internet.' There is some doubt in my mind, personally, as to the veracity of this statement.

The latest news on Anonymous, however, is very disturbing, and where things get even scarier. One of the hacktivists, Deric Lostutter, known as KYAnonymous throughout the Steubenville case, was recently arrested by the FBI for computer crimes. The most disturbing aspect is the fact that he may spend more time in prison for exposing the Steubenville rapists than the rapists themselves. He now faces up to ten years in prison.

According to a statement made by Deric Lostutter, approximately twelve FBI SWAT team agents launched themselves from a Fed/Ex truck and pointed their M-16s directly at his head, with the safeties off, while screaming at him to get down on the ground. A rather extreme way of going after someone accused of non-violent crimes, obviously, and it's largely believed to have been a vendetta arrest.

Law enforcement wasn't too pleased with Lostutter, apparently, for usurping their jobs. He wasn't getting paid for it, but chose to do the work they refused to do. Public service employees who refuse to do their jobs should be charged with theft of public funds. It's no different than employee time theft when people who are supposed to be working are playing solitaire or going on Facebook instead.

There is a defense fund set up for Lostutter that people can donate to, as well as a petition that can be signed to protest his arrest. I've already signed the petition. I believe in what they've done for rape victims. I believe that if the perpetrators of rape no longer feel like they'll be allowed to get away with their crimes, they will no longer think nothing of committing them. Even if it makes a single potential rapist change his mind about raping a single potential victim, it will be well worth exonerating Lostutter for his so-called crimes.

If the authorities are unwilling to take action, then citizens must. If that's revolutionary, then so be it. Victims deserve a voice, too. We need to give it to them. The NSA is allowed to spy on American citizens, but citizens aren't allowed to spy on criminals? I think not.

"Remember, remember, the fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot."

1,228 - 5 - 0 - US
Rain Stickland is a Canadian writer with a passion for ferrets and a love for sentient creatures. She produces The Kovacs Perspective, hosted by Steve Kovacs.

Her professional background includes freelance writing, consulting, technical writing, procedures manuals, payroll and HR, investment analysis, and accounting. She owns a company that develops and manufactures safe pet toys, and donates the proceeds to ferret shelters in Canada and the US.

Rain's writing background includes topics such as stem cell transplants and feminism, and position papers on charitable organization development. She's also a staff writer for a popular online feminist publication. A crime-fiction series is in the works, as she continues to contribute to various online and print publications.

Follow her on Twitter @RainStickland

You can follow her blog at: Torrential Rain

Future articles can be found at: Soul of Wit where she will contribute articles formerly written for SearchWarp.com.

Rain is a Fan of

Popular Today

Other Articles