On Wednesday, Jan. 18, the U.S. government took down the website Megaupload, arrested seven employees, seized $50 million in assets, and then destroyed every link to the site as well as all the stored information of its clients.
The raid’s timing was certainly not good for two laws, SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, as well as PIPA, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, about to be voted into U.S. law. Thousands of constituents flooded Congress with angry protests (via email, of course) while hundreds of others took to the streets. Congressional leaders immediately scrapped both laws, saying that they were too broad as drafted.
Wikipedia had gone offline for 24 hours to protest the proposed laws. Google draped its homepage in black.
But Anonymous wasn’t finished.
“Expect Us!” the group tweeted Thursday around 2 p.m. Then, hactivists in AnonOp, 5,635 of them, using a networking tool called “low orbit ion cannon,” crashed the Department of Justice website, including the FBI, as well as the Recording Industry Association of America, Universal Music, Warner Music and the U.S. Copyright Office.
By late Friday, with the exception of Universal Music, all the websites were up and running.
Anonymous filed yet another victory video on YouTube.
The headless business man in the black suit, white shirt and tie, spoke again. “A new era has come. Anonymous is no longer playing nice ... . Our power is too strong and soon they will have to listen to the people.” That latest video had been viewed a half million times in less than 24 hours.
Anti-Anonymous hackers pasted a news report on top of the original, but it reappeared again shortly thereafter.
The clip finishes with Anonymous’s manifesto: “We are Anonymous! We are legion! We do not Forgive! We do not forget! Expect Us!” For Tweeters, “News on the Revolution” offers more information. Revolution: Anonymous has now gone public with its true agenda.
The first Internet protests on Wednesday rated a spot on the national news, but except for one sentence at the end of the PBS News Hour, the Thursday attacks did not. That poses an intriguing question of journalistic ethics. If this is, indeed, cyberwar, as Defense Secretary Panetta stated a little over two weeks ago, does that justify censorship on the grounds of national security?
Or does freedom of the press and the right of every citizen to information come first? That debate may turn out to be frivolous.
The Powers That Be hate the fact that the Internet gives away information. A click of the mouse and the searcher has thousands and sometimes millions of free websites to choose from.
Anonymous stated just two weeks ago that information is power. While the old regimes were busy beefing up their traditional military, Anonymous was quietly taking over the Internet, dubbed the Information Highway.
The latest Anonymous video says “Do not sit and watch! Do not sit and cheer! Use your powers.
Artists be creative, Singers be lyrical, Writers spread our word! We will not be silenced!” Uncle Sam Needs You? No. Anonymous Needs You. It’s great propaganda with a Robin Hood emotional appeal that’s hard to resist. World governments, especially the U.S., have answered by trying to keep Anonymous out of the news while at the same time destroying websites. The Internet’s millions of sites and ability for instant electronic repair render both tasks impossible.
Truth? Lies? Greedy Capitalists? Commie pinkos? The questions proliferate. The answers do not. Maybe it’s time to jettison the left brain’s yes/no, binary approach to life for the right hemisphere’s intuition and spirituality. That internal world is limitless, costs nothing, needs no electricity, and taps into multiple kinds of knowledge. Just an idea. Couldn’t hurt.