The loose-knit group Anonymous and other so-called hacktivists with underground origins have entered mainstream political culture, buoyed by a year of successes and increasing availability of technologies that have made it easier to participate in online activism campaigns.
While hackers gained reputations as illegal pranksters in the 1990s, a new generation appears more focused on building technology and online campaigns aimed at keeping the internet unrestricted.
So far this year, Anonymous and groups linked to the collective recently launched cyberattacks on the Swedish government, hacked into a conference phone call between the FBI and Britain’s Scotland Yard, and broken into several law enforcement agencies around the world.
Meanwhile, even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has felt the sting, after 14 private photos of him were downloaded from the social networking site in December and posted on the photo-sharing site Imgur to expose a flaw in Facebook’s security settings.
But the groups have also recently directed their online campaigns against hate groups and child pornography websites, suggesting its ranks believe the internet freedom they are fighting to protect must not be abused…
(And) Germany has already recognized in its court system that DDoS attacks can be a form of valid political protest…
“Suppose the people around here decide that instead of having more consumer goods they’d like to have more leisure. The market system doesn’t allow you that choice. It drives you to having more consumer goods because it’s all driven to maximizing production. But is the only human value to have more and more goods you don’t need? In fact the business world knows that it’s not. That’s why they spend billions of dollars in advertising, to try to create artificial wants.”—
“That’s right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that’s kind of perverted or maybe it’s just romantic and highly intelligent.”—Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (via thelifeguardlibrarian)
One video in particular, which showed a young boy whose jaw was blown off in an attack, has been circulating on some social media websites, but was deemed too shocking for traditional media - including The Telegraph - to show.
Journalist Andy Carvin, a senior strategist at NPR in the US, took the decision to post the video on his Twitter account.
He Tweeted: “2 boys: one w/ his jaw blown off; the other his foot. Worse than graphic, an abomination. My hands are shaking.”
Other footage was said to include, amongst other things, a little girl pleading with doctors to treat her wounded brother in Homs, and another wounded child pleading to know what they had done to deserve what had happened.
The violence in Syria has increased in the wake of a UN Security Council vote on a resolution condemning President Bashar al Assad.
He said Syria was teetering on the edge of civil war.
Mr Carvin’s decision to post the video prompted an outpouring of emotion on the social media website.
He joined forces with other users in an effort to find the boy with the jaw injury, discover if he was still alive, and attempt to get him medical treatment. Employees at US cable news network CNN were also taking part in the effort.
At one point he tweeted: “Trying to explain to my 5-year-old why I can’t play with her right now. This is harder than usual.”
His last tweet noted he would give an update on the boy as soon as possible.
But his decision to post the video also prompted a debate on how much of the bloody war should be shown.
Sky News Digital News Editor Neal Mann, named by a survey last year as the most influential tweeter in the UK media, called the video “disturbing” and said he would not post it.
Much of the footage coming out of Syria is “haunting”, he wrote. Journalists are used to dealing with such footage, but “I do not feel comfortable pushing it to those who aren’t”.
“I agree,” wrote Cliona Wilmott. “It is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. If people are determined to see it, they will find it.”
But Mr Carvin wrote: “I think everyone needs to do what their conscience tells them to do. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer.”
Others said they hoped the footage would wake people up to the true horror of what is happening in Syria.
And davidrobbo66 wrote: “does it matter whether it’s too graphic or not? it’s what is happening, like it or not. reality trumps ‘editorial standards’”.
I’m going to continue to post graphic content from Syria as I deem to be appropriate. I do not want to exploit the graphic imagery or the Syrian people. I’d like to remain respectful but in the wake of the UN veto, I’m going to continue to post what I think people need to be aware of and be exposed to while the world stays silent. We could be utilizing nonviolent means to pressure the Assad regime to step down but we’ve chosen not to and while the violence in Syria continues, I plan on showing what the world has chosen to allow.
I’ll will continue to post warnings on anything that contains graphic imagery but just know that I don’t plan on shying away from showing reality.
These suicide notes were gathered at the coroners’ offices by a suicidologist/psychiatrist who asked to be anonymous. He edited identifying details out of the compiled manuscript, and we changed the names. But the text of each letter plus the age and sex given are real. All these people did kill themselves. Were they ambivalent about it? About half the hundred or so letters we saw seemed to have some element of doubt.
In the Censored News pick for the Best of the Best in 2011, Wikileaks claims first prize. Wikileaks exposed the US corporate schemes, espionage, promotion of mining and efforts globally to halt passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Wikileaks revealed extensive espionage of Indigenous Peoples, including the Mapuche and Mohawks, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales, who ushered in a new Indigenous global rights campaign.
The release of the US diplomatic cables of the US State Department confirmed that the US feared the power of Indigenous Peoples, specifically their claims to their traditional territories, a right stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Further, the Declaration states the right of free, prior and informed consent before development proceeds and protects intellectual and cultural property rights.