This post has been migrated and imported into different systems over the years, I have not had a chance to format this post manually so it may be hard to read but I have left it here as a reference.
I have been following anonymous for quite a while now and I find what they are and what they are doing pretty interesting. But is it the right thing to do and should they be doing it? There are many different ways to look at it but first let me explain what anonymous is and what they have done.
Anonymous is a group of hackers with no leader who claim they represent the people or the 99%. They are famous for using the V for Vendetta mask in protests. The name anonymous comes from being anonymous when on the internet as in you don’t really know who is behind the forum komments or the twitter account someone is running. They stand for many things and have been responsible for many hacker related incidents, especially recently. Their goal seems to be to protect free speech and privacy online. However sometimes Anonymous gives out a mixed message and it can be hard to tell what is true and what is false, this is due to the fact that the group has no leader which is a great weakness while still at the same time being one of their greatest strengths.
Recently Anonymous has really gained a lot of support and notice in their retaliation to the FBI and Department of Justice’s take down of a large file sharing website called MegaUpload.com. They used DDoS attacks on many government and corporate websites temporarily shutting down sites like the DOJ, RIAA, MPAA, Universal Music, US Copyright Office, EMI, HADOPI, and the FBI. The full story can be found here at Gizmodo.com. Later Anonymous also took down CBS.com and claimed to have deleted all files on their servers, however some claim that it was simply DNS poisoning which is still pretty bad. Either way CBS.com was up again in about 20 minutes. At this time UniversalMusic.com also went down once more. Read the full story at Gizmodo.com. Reading tweets on twitter further attacks and hacking are happening, as I am writing this post justice.gov is once again down thanks to Anonymous. Anonymous also leaked hacked emails from Stratfor.com, use twitter and search for #Stratfor to find these. More rumors say that Anonymous will try to DDoS or somehow shutdown Facebook on January 28th. I personally believe these rumors to be false, why would Anonymous want to shut down a social network which is against SOPA and PIPA.
Going back to the FBI and DOJ’s shutdown of MegaUpload.com which seems to have come at the perfect time for the FBI and DOJ to use the expected retaliation of the shutdown to gain support for SOPA and PIPA. Many speculated that the Anonymous attacks were expected and that what Anonymous is doing will only hurt us more, I guess we will see. Personally I believe that the MegaUpload.com shutdown was a very bad thing, it hurt more than it helped. Sure there may have been illegal file sharing going on but MegaUpload was usually fairly quick to deal with this and there was no search function on MegaUpload to make it easy to find these files. But many users used MegaUpload for perfectly legal purposes like backing up data, sharing home videos and pictures with family and friends, sharing school notes, upcoming artist shared their own music here, maybe even stored their music. The loss of data for normal users who were doing nothing illegal was immense and this is why I feel that the shutdown was wrong. Read more about the affects at PCMAG.
So if I had to pick sides here I would go with Anonymous.