I could spend a whole year talking about anonymous and their role on the internet (and one of my classmates has spent a semester exploring their methods here), but for now I’d like to touch briefly on what I’ve learned about their positive influence.
First of all, if you aren’t sure what exactly anonymous is, here is a short video on them:
As someone who was terrified about SOPA in the time it was abuzz, I should really give anons credit for what they did. I signed a petition to stop it, but I didn’t know who was behind the petition, nor did I know who was responsible for the blackouts of major websites. I just thought “hey, that’s pretty cool”, but I never really stopped to think about how something so huge was organized.
I see now an organization that fights with passion. Why do governments and others fight back so aggressively? Why do internet hacktivists get 30 years in jail when rapists get 5? Well, it could be that fear of the unknown, or perhaps they just believe it’s something they’re meant to do, but it’s become very clear that anonymous is not going to stop because of opposition.
In the video above, anonymous says “[we’re] good, by definition… this does not mean there can’t be bad actions,” which will always be the case in any organization. But from what I’ve seen and heard, anonymous is just trying to give a voice to the voiceless. They’ve been involved with Arab Spring, with fighting bills that they believe shouldn’t be passed, and with protesting for rights. Though they may have a negative reputation in many eyes, there has been so much good to come out of what they stand for. They’re another HUGE force to take note of when watching how the internet can be used to one’s advantage, especially when you’re truly passionate about something.