Did Hacker Group Anonymous Threaten Blogger Who Posted Images of Cyber-Bullying?
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Like many Internet denizens, members of Anonymous pride themselves on lurking in the shadows. They don masks in public, in an act that conveys both fear and power: they are unknown so they are frightening, but they are masked so they must be afraid, too. They are at once a product of the Internet and of our collective imagination, representing all the invisible justice and terror lurking out there in the world.
While many of the actions of Anonymous seem noble, if this is indeed an act on its behalf, it is far from noble. If it is not an affiliated act and rather a perversion of its goals, it shows how easy it is to pretend and frighten with just a simple email. I am reminded of how terrified Amanda Todd must have felt when she found out she had an Internet stalker: someone unknown, lurking in the shadows, who in many ways, we should all be "expecting."
This email threat is in and of itself a good argument for enhanced Internet policing, which is, oddly, what this alleged Anonymous member wants for our site. However, the entity Anonymous seems to be against censorship, based upon its love of hacking and use of free speech. It is therefore odd that someone would claim to be part of Anonymous in order to threaten a Web site that is ostensibly on its side.
Perhaps all this means is that when vigilante justice is exacted, it can turn into just as narrow-minded a regime as it seeks to overthrow. Perhaps this means that one individual decided to do something impulsive and it shouldn't be taken seriously, but more likely it means that in order to have real discussions online, we must all become more technologically sophisticated. We must think critically about the ways in which the Internet is different from the printed page and learn how to play with its strengths and weaknesses: " The medium is the message." We must try to understand the consequences of our online actions, regardless of our intentions, and we must gain the technical skills to level the playing field to fight back against those seeking to limit free discourse, whomever they may be. In the words of Josh Kopstein and protesters everywhere: It is no longer OK not to know how the Internet works.