This post is in response to a post by Curtis Entenmann called 1s and Os. I encourage you to read his post before reading this one. And if you haven’t looked at our posts on Equality yet (Mine and His) , I would encourage you to take a look see.
Curtis wrote about an anonymous hacker group called LulzSec. I gathered some info from a few news sites and found a statement issued by the group, which they posted in honor of their 1000th tweet. Read the statement here to see what they are saying. This group recently completed a 50 day hacking spree that resulted in attacks on Sony, Nintendo, the CIA and many other institutions. According to their statement, if we are to read it as any indication of what actually motivates them (who knows?) they seem compelled to educate the pitiful masses of how vulnerable and ignorant they are, and they are not apologizing for finding the whole thing entertaining. They have compromised the security and privacy of millions, and they say things like the following:(This is graphic, but I don’t want to censor it so you can see the caliber of people we’re dealing with)
Yes, yes, there’s always the argument that releasing everything in full is just as evil, what with accounts being stolen and abused, but welcome to 2011. This is the lulz lizard era, where we do things just because we find it entertaining. Watching someone’s Facebook picture turn into a penis and seeing their sister’s shocked response is priceless. Receiving angry emails from the man you just sent 10 dildos to because he can’t secure his Amazon password is priceless. You find it funny to watch havoc unfold, and we find it funny to cause it. We release personal data so that equally evil people can entertain us with what they do with it.
I get a sense that they are saying things like this and doing things to evoke a response from the masses. Perhaps they want to show them how corrupt their leaders and institutions are, and in the meantime make a commentary on how sick and twisted human nature is. So, like a preachy alt-rock band in the likes of Tool or Slipknot, they are making it an art form to tell the people how messed up their world is.
Here is what they said at the end of their 50 day hacking spree:
Our planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance, leaving behind – we hope – inspiration, fear, denial, happiness, approval, disapproval, mockery, embarrassment, thoughtfulness, jealousy, hate, even love,” the group wrote. “If anything, we hope we had a microscopic impact on someone, somewhere. Anywhere.
What is their purpose? What do they want? WHO ARE THEY?
Curtis supports their efforts to expose corruption. He writes, “I for one am all for these “hackers” who aim to expose the corruption around us. A government should fear it’s people, not the other way around.” Curtis then goes on to say that hackers could even go further by going after our own government and financial institutions. He believes that it is better to expose corruption in this manner than to live under the influence of it.
Here is my response.
LulzSec and other hackers who act in a similar fashion could have any number of motives. These motives could be pure and true, or they could be twisted and self-serving. They are viewed by some as modern-day freedom fighters, exposing the corruption behind our powerful leaders and institutions. They are viewed by others as criminals, internet vigilantes who put personal and national security at risk. Very well. But none of what I just said matters. Here’s why.
Hackers pride themselves on holding the world accountable to whatever standard they believe they should be held to. But they themselves cannot be held accountable for their actions because they are anonymous. I don’t care how righteous or evil they are at the core, they are nameless, faceless, reckless, and dangerous. Action, any action, without accountability is only subject to the whims of the individual. And if you take this total lack of accountability and you add the massive amount of power at the fingertips of these individuals, you get worrisome results.
That doesn’t mean that they do not serve some good purpose. We live in a world where our identities (the personal information that makes up part of our identity) exist on computers. Too many of us do not understand how vulnerable we are to the leaders and institutions that control our information. Hackers understand our vulnerability better than most. Many of them want to expose our dangerous ignorance. I get that. And that message should be delivered to the people.
But once again, I cannot support the actions of individuals who operate without accountability, and who exercise so much power to disrupt or topple structures which make up our society.