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Should Cyber Vigilantes Be Cheered Or Feared 232

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Ted Samson raises several challenging questions in the wake of HBGary, first and foremost being, should the cyber vigilante acts of 'hacktivists' such as Anonymous be embraced? No doubt the alleged HBGary plot is troubling, Samson writes, 'but also troubling is how quickly some members of Congress seek to use illegally acquired information to further their own political agenda.' The underlying message seems to be that cyber vigilantes may have more leeway than those who engage in equally illegal, though decidedly nontechnical methods to expose their targets."
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Should Cyber Vigilantes Be Cheered Or Feared

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  • Re:False dichotomy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @10:41PM (#35364990)

    Except the police didn't come after batman, a (as-yet-unhired) mercenary was after them, proposing to use illegal means themselves.

    The act of self-preservation does not make one a criminal. What was likely to happen to those HB Gary noted as being part of Anonymous? (And would they target a: social engineer griefers, b: those who had actually engaged in cracking or script-kiddee-hood or c: everyone period on 4chan making them all possibly unemployable and/or through gross misrepresentation putting every last person there on sex offender lists?

    Also, Batman didn't shoot Gordon in the face, he uncovered some of Gordan's illicit dealings in the red light district after campaigning to clean it up. (And suggesting that Batman was a pimp, which he was but no more engaged in it than Gordon.)

    HB Gary wasn't looking for their identities to debate them, but to silence them (Anonymous plus all stated opponents of their client) whatever it (shy of physical violence) took.

    When you're looking to organize a clandestine smear campaign to perpetrate a cover-up worth spending such massive amounts of money on... there's no pretense of being the good guys.

    What we have here is two groups both ranging from amoral to immoral fighting each other, both of whom would rather the proper course not be taken.

    Unfortunately both political parties have mastered "forget what you just caught us doing, look at what they MIGHT be doing!" and used it so much that those looking to believe in their chosen party have an automatic response to dismiss evidence against their side upon being presented with that situation.

    While it would be nice to believe that government contractors are on the side of law and order, the evidence so far does not bear that assertion. After a few of the matters uncovered by Wikileaks (and some by the regular news during the war proper in Iraq) it's pretty obvious that the contractors have much to hide (some of which has been public-ally released but didn't stay in the papers very long...)

    It sure would be nice if we could blanketly agree with you, but if you read Slashdot with any regularity you'll note that for large companies, proper legal consequences don't seem to apply. If anyone fights a large corporation, it's fair game to ruin their life. If a large corporation does something heinous (perhaps losing lives through cheapness and incompetence, oil rig?) they get off with NO threat of dissolution or those responsible having their lives ruined.

    Given the relative dangers to each side, I can't condemn any who thought they might be identified as Anonymous (correctly or not) for doing whatever it (also without violence or going further than the other side intended to) took to neutralize the threat to themselves.

    It would be really nice if we cleaned house in government and had a clear-cut situation where we could all shake our heads at Anonymous, but at this point with the president himself working to aid and abet the (likely continued) defrauding of Bank of America's customers (the people he should be looking to protect), with the highest public office directly opposed to doing what's right you can rest assured the law will not properly investigate the matter and hold BoA responsible for what the documents contain, but rather punish any who try to spill the beans.

    This is what we've earned for ourselves by voting along party lines. One of our most important founding principles is checks and balances to prevent any one group from being able to get away with corruption. The entire purpose of a political party is to get around those checks and balances. Perhaps active membership in one should be considered an attempt to sabotage the country?

    This is likely to come up more and more in the near future. It will become trendy to uncover wrongdoing, when this involves anyone in the government expect more "you're with us or against us" nonsense trying to convince people that you're not American if you don't support whoever is in a position of power, even

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky