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Scotland Yard Has Been After Anonymous For Months 278

jhernik writes "Scotland Yard has confirmed it has been investigating Anonymous since before the WikiLeaks wars broke out. The Metropolitan police has been investigating Internet vigilante group Anonymous, since well before its current online reprisals against companies not supporting WikiLeaks. 'Earlier this year, the Metropolitan police service received a number of allegations of denial of service cyber attacks againat several companies by a group calling itself Anonymous,' a police spokesman told eWEEK Europe UK. 'We are investigating these criminal allegations and our investigation is ongoing.'"
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Scotland Yard Has Been After Anonymous For Months

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  • Obligatory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Even on Slashdot FOE ( 1870208 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @09:55AM (#34572732)

    If Anonymous is made up of random people who care about the issue of the moment, how do you investigate them over time? I can't see how they would all care about the same things, as it's not like Anonymous hires people to do stuff.

    Unless there's some sort of "Anonymous Hacking, LLC" I haven't hear of...

  • by moxley ( 895517 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @10:10AM (#34572876)

    Obviously they just don't get it.

    If you say you are a member of "Anonymous," then at that moment you are a member of "Anonymous."

    If, several minutes later, you say "I am not a member of "Anonymous," then you are not a member of "Anonymous."

    Anybody can be a member, for any amount of time. There are no central lists, no membership rosters.....in many ways the organization doesn't exist, it;s a "dis-organization."

  • Worth noting that Anonymous lost England the Colonies in North America, and they've probably been after them ever since.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Paine [wikipedia.org]
    "Thomas Paine has a claim to the title The Father of the American Revolution because of Common Sense, the pro-independence monograph pamphlet he anonymously published on January 10, 1776; signed "Written by an Englishman", the pamphlet became an immediate success."

    http://www.pbs.org/benfranklin/l3_wit_name.html [pbs.org]
    "Benevolus — While in England, Franklin penned a number of letters under the name of Benevolus. These letters tried to answer some of the negative assertions made by the British press about the American colonists. These letters were published in London newspapers and journals. "

    Perhaps those are the Anonymous guys that England's really still mad at.

  • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bberens ( 965711 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @10:30AM (#34573122)
    That may be true, but there's bound to be a relatively small core of people who are controlling the botnets. Those people might not be involved in every "Anonymous" attack, but they will likely participate semi-regularly in them. Those are the people they're after. Not joe idiot who downloaded the little flooding app.
  • Scotland Yard has been chasing a bunch of tomfooling teenagers for months, but hasn't even bothered to investigate substantiated investigations of wire fraud by the editor of a national newspaper [guardian.co.uk]. It's pretty clear who plays the tunes Scotland Yard dance to.

  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday December 16, 2010 @10:48AM (#34573342)
    "Citation needed!" is really becoming the modern version of "liar liar pants on fire"....

    The very fact that there is an irc channel indicates organisation, and if you look deeper for long enough you can see the underlying control there as well - there are users who frequent the channel more often than others, and who get listened to more often than others.

    If you want an example of how an uncouth mob can still have organisation and planning, take a look at any protest (the recent student protests in London are a prime example). Taken together, the mob is just that, a mob. Look deeper and there are people in the mob that incite the other members, take the first steps to violence and action, make suggestions - these are the ones that get stuck up on wanted posters and pursued by police.

    "Anonymous" is no different.
  • by Terrasque ( 796014 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @10:50AM (#34573360) Homepage Journal

    One of the better descriptions I've heard:

    [Anonymous is] the first internet-based superconsciousness. Anonymous is a group, in the sense that a flock of birds is a group. How do you know they're a group? Because they're travelling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely.

    From the wikipedia page.

  • by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @11:11AM (#34573646)
    By that line of logic, that means there is no group called anonymous.

    That is fair enough. There really isn't any point to trying to take down "Anonymous" because everyone is a member. Think about the ending sequence to V for Vendetta. That is really what anonymous is. It is fitting that they chose that mask as their symbol.
  • by dasdrewid ( 653176 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @02:03PM (#34576276)

    The last thing humanity needs is a bunch of angsty teenagers throwing a fit because their favorite website has to change providers. WikiLeaks violated their contract with Amazon. It is a BUSINESS matter. Get the fuck over it, pick up your toys and go to school.

    I disagree. I don't think Wikileaks violated their contract. Amazon's response is here: http://aws.amazon.com/message/65348/ [amazon.com] . Their arguments are

    a) Wikileaks doesn't control the rights to the content. This is an interesting assertion. Wikileaks has as much control over the rights of the content as the New York Times did when it published the Pentagon Papers, i.e. they were publishing classified documents that were illegally obtained by a third party. However, the US Government couldn't stop the Times from publishing. This would lead to pretty strong case that they *do* have some control as to the rights of the content. The US Government certainly doesn't have a copyright over the diplomatic cables (they being produced by government officers or employees as part of their official duties are not eligible for copyright), and since Wikileaks was never under any agreement with the US Government regarding access to the cables, there is nothing stopping them from publishing, just like there was nothing stopping the Times from publishing. Yes, it was a crime for the documents to be exposed, but once exposed, there is nothing illegal about holding or distributing the documents. The documents are now public domain. To get technical, Amazon requires that you own or control all of the rights to the content you host. If they are arguing that Wikileaks doesn't own or control the content, it can only be because the content is public domain. Therefore, all public domain documents should be disallowed on Amazon AWS systems.

    b) Wikileaks release of the documents could hurt people, because it is not possible for WIkileaks to have redacted the documents in such a way as to put people in jeopardy. They cite as evidence that some human rights organizations asked for Wikileaks to exercise caution in their releases. They ignore the fact that those same organizations also asked Wikileaks to continue doing what they are doing, regarding the documents. In neither of those cases are any actual specific cases where someone has been put in jeopardy cited. In fact, no cases have been reported where someone has been put in danger because of Wikileaks releases (excepting, of course, the death threats Julian Assange has received...). They are also making some pretty large leaps to say that people are being put in danger (remember, Wikileaks was booted because of the diplomatic cables, not the Afghanistan documents, which, by the way, are what those human rights organizations were referring to...Amazon is in fact using evidence from a completely separate situation and trying to pass it off as relevant...). The documents are government cables, meaning information like names and actions had to have been pretty well known to have made it as far as the people sending the cables. If they weren't known, then diplomats had to be in direct communication with the human rights activists, which leads to questions about whether they were activists or government operatives. Not that that changes much regarding whether they should be protected, but if they were operatives, it would seem that the government officials should have been protecting them even within the cables, so redaction shouldn't be that big of an issue.

    Also if any content that could put people at risk should be banned, then do they ban chemistry books that explain explosives, or Dianetics (it's available on Amazon.com...)? Hell, Amazon.com sells "The Anarchist Cookbook" for goodness' sake! Search for it on Amazon and you get pages of books with bomb instructions, improvised weapon instructions, techniques to cause havoc, etc...

    I simply can't take Amazon's argument seriously when it is so flimsy, if not downright fraudulent, and

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin