Anonymous

Anonymous are talk of the month again thanks to events regarding the DDOS attack on and subsequent theft of customer details from Sony's online Playstation and PC gaming networks. It seems to me that a lot of reporters/commentators speaking about Anonymous are missing the point specifically in regards to the nature of the group. The idea that Anonymous is an organised group in any meaningful sense of the word seems silly to me. It actually contradicts the Anonymous ethos. "We are Legion", the name "Anonymous" itself are both clues to the nature of the movement; it's origins on 4chan, an enforced anonymity forum even more so. Anonymous axiomatically incorporates any unidentified individual or group that adopts the expected modus operandi to fight a perceived injustice against the ideals of internet freedom.

In this sense Anonymous is the modern era's ironic Ned Ludd. It did not begin with Anonymous' attacks on Scientology. The concept was already there; it simply incorporated new ideas and took on a voice. If you or I were to embark on a DDOS campaign against the new Internet Tyrant then we would reasonably have as much claim to the Anonymous cause as anyone ever has. That really is the point, empowerment of internet users to fight for their virtual freedom.

This would make Anonymous' figureheads and leaders mere copycats in an ever increasing web of emergent copycat behaviour. All of them are following the spirit of an event that in all likelihood never occurred in the sense that they believe it did. There need not have been an organised assault, merely a consensus agreement among the right group of people on the right issue at the right time.  Regardless of your stance on the morality and propriety of their methods, it's hard to ignore that the frequency and efficacy of Anonymous 'events' show that whatever is happening is a powerful force and one that we should be learning from.