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Angles On Anonymous 383

A number of readers are sending in links related to Anonymous, the Internet phenomenon — don't call them a group — behind the controversial DDoS attacks on commercial entities that fail to support WikiLeaks. The best insight into Anonymous comes from the Economist's Babbage blogger, who hung out in one of their IRC channels. Reader nk497 points out that UK users looking to join Anonymous's DDoS army should be aware they could face a jail term of up to two years; simply downloading the LOIC software used in the DDoSing could suffice to earn a conviction. One 16-year-old has been arrested in The Netherlands and is charged with participating in the DDoS. Reader ancientribe sends in coverage of a claim by one security outfit that several existing criminal botnets have joined forces with Anonymous's Operation: Payback. And reader Stoobalou notes a story on a manifesto of sorts that purports to come from "ANON OPS," even though Anonymous disclaims any central spokesperson or entity (press release here, PDF).
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Angles On Anonymous

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  • Re:Unified beliefs (Score:5, Informative)

    by he-sk ( 103163 ) on Friday December 10, 2010 @03:10PM (#34516590)

    It's one thing to suspect government duplicity, it's another to see it written in black on white.

    As an example, I am sickened how the German authorities caved to US pressure with regards to El-Masri's abduction by the CIA while calling for a "thorough investigation" publicly.

    Source:,1518,733860,00.html []

  • by Rysc ( 136391 ) * <> on Friday December 10, 2010 @03:19PM (#34516730) Homepage Journal

    This is a fair question and hard to answer in a way that is convincing. I know no one is in charge because I know who anonymous is. Explaining the back story (and thus the joke) takes a lot of ink; you kind of had to be there. All I can say, briefly, is "Trust me," which is not going to be convincing to you.

    There *are* some clueless people who are trying to be "Anonymous the group", which I call captial-A Anonymous because this is what reporters have insisted on saying since the Scientology raid. That was a bad raid, because even though it was funny it brought in too much attention by supporters who were not in on the joke. Ever since then, and just before then with the Fox News piece on "Anonymous", reporters trying to cover this have been saying "Anonymous" like it's an organization or group of some kind. If you were anonymous at the time, even if not participating in the raids, it would have been obvious how silly this was. Actually, a lot of fun was had making fun of this mistake. A lot of fun is still being had.

    Some anonymous are definitely out to be activists and like trying to incite the mob for their personal agendas, but mostly they are not successful. The mob will react when it is interesting to do so.

    By now, thanks to reporting, there are people out there who want to "join" the "Anonymous protest group." I assure you that 99.99% of these people are ineffectual and are not involved in any actual site takedowns. Some who try are like the guy who got arrested. Arrests like that won't stop the DDoSes because they're just picking off the fringe hangers-on.

    The thing to keep in mind is that anonymous is a name, not a plural, or it is a description of a characteristic. Anonymous is no more a group than "Youth" is a group; yes, it's a group in the sense that it's a classification, but in no other way. A bunch of kids in a schoolyard may represent Youth in a certain sense, but they do not speak for Youth. In a similar way many are anonymous and many groups of anonymous exist, but no one speaks for anonymous. More accurately no one speaks *directly* for anonymous; anonymous tends to make his opinions known in the form of memes--not image macros or catch phrases, but ideas that appear without apparent direction in the minds of many different people and spread through word of mouth. You can get a broad sense of what anonymous thinks and feels from the aggregation of a lot of things. These thoughts and feelings are by necessity few and/or general, and they may not be universal to every anonymous. It's just that, on the whole, anonymous tends to agree. Quintessential example: furries are bad.

  • Re:Unified beliefs (Score:5, Informative)

    by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Friday December 10, 2010 @03:33PM (#34516934)
    -USA taxpayers paid a private defense contractor to buy Afghan cops a boy sex toy. Apparently it's a pre-taliban tradition.
    -Our diplomates were instructed to get the U.N. leader Ban Ki-Moons biometrics, passwords, and encryption keys.
    -We've pushed our own IP laws onto Spain

    But holy cow, you may just want to take your pick of anything on the wiki page []. There's plenty there. Most of it is, yeah, stupid things like candid descriptions by diplomats. But some of is examples of people in power abusing said power.
  • by hesiod ( 111176 ) on Friday December 10, 2010 @03:45PM (#34517138)

    There is no infighting for one thing, and those who participate have common, predictable goals and means.

    You really don't understand Anonymous at all if you think that.

  • by Coren22 ( 1625475 ) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:55PM (#34518000) Journal

    An open letter to this AC:

    You don't have to like xkcd, we do, get over it. /.

  • by droopus ( 33472 ) * on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:02PM (#34518060)

    They can quite easily hit you with a federal conspiracy charge. Your IP on a list of "downloaders of LOIC" is plenty for a search warrant. A creative examination of your hard drive will come up with enough "suspicious material" to convince a grand jury. (Free lunch and $8 per diem is plenty to convince a grand jury.)

    So, ok, you then claim you did nothing. The AUSA says "we do not believe you. We think you are an OP in Anonymous and are charging you with violation of 18 USC 1030 [] How's twenty years sound, hm?"

    And conspiracy is so tangential, that anyone can be accused of it for pretty much anything. For example, I say to you "Hey dude! How about a free pound of coke!" You jokingly say something like "LOL sure dude, bring a big straw." And we both laugh it off. But you're neighbor overhears and calls the cops/DEA.You just conspired to buy a pound of cocaine. And you'd lose in court, like 97% of fed trial defendants. But I digress. This is the conspiracy section of the federal hacking law: .....
    Whoever conspires to commit or attempts to commit an offense under subsection (a) of this section shall be punished as provided in subsection (c) of this section.
    (c) The punishment for an offense under subsection (a) or (b) of this section is—

    (A) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both, in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(1) of this section which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under this section, or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph; and

    (B) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both, in the case of an offense under subsection (a)(1) of this section which occurs after a conviction for another offense under this section, or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph; ....

    Now, the AUSA says to you "ok, you have two choices. Go to trial, and I will beat you and you will absolutely do at least fifteen years. Or sign this admission of responsibility, plead guilty to this minor count and do five. Your choice."

    Many people say "I'll fight!!" Almost all of them will reconsider that as they pass year 12 at Fort Dix.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10, 2010 @06:16PM (#34518804)
    post XKCD, get teh GOAT []

    suprisingly, that damn thing makes as much sense as the original comic in most cases

VMS must die!