Oct 01

Anonymous: Vigilantes in search of social justice or criminals that are a threat to national security?

As the web grows in influence and reach across the world, its applications expand beyond the realm of our expectations. The recent hacking of the Harvard website by Syrian cyber rebels is yet another reminder of how powerful of a political tool cyber hacking has become.

Evolution of Hacking Communities

Over the past ten years hacking has gone from an art solely reserved for cyber criminals or geeks aimed to play cruel pranks, to an organized army of individuals across the world. These different armies have different platforms and objectives. Increasingly we are seeing a strong centralized group of hackers named Anonymous emerge as the leading political hackers.

Anonymous is a group of hackers around the entire world who seek to pursue their form of social justice. They see themselves as a guardian of humanity that is protecting the social rights, laws and justice of the average person from corrupt governments. Anonymous hackers played a big part in Julian Assange’s Wikileaks and greatly assisted in the digital revolution that helped spur the rebellions of the Arab Spring.

Ethical & Moral Dilemma

Many laud the work done by Anonymous.  To a great part of the world they are seen as digital larger- than- life heroes that have disrupted the system to expose the truth and bring justice. In a time where more and more countries are finding their political regimes too overbearing and suffocating, a cyber revolution is often times the most effective seed. Anonymous, through their vast network and information ring, are able to provide just that: a needed force to stir the pot of change.  Anonymous often alerts us of actions and movements that we would have never realized are affecting us.  They are in one form applying Thoreau’s theory of Civil Disobedience to bring about a better functioning world.

Critics will always claim that the information being leaked and the actions of Anonymous expose the modern world to a higher threat level and harm each government’s national security. There are checks and balances and reasons why every government claims to act in each way. Anonymous by exposing the governments covert documents, threaten the needed progress and long-term security of the country.

What Lies Ahead

Governments across the world have been trying to shut down and prosecute the hackers within Anonymous. So far they have succeeded in catching and prosecuting a few but the group remains strong. Their next big action is rumored to be the takedown of Facebook on the fifth of November, Guy Fawkes day.  This is in response to Facebook allegedly leaking personal information to the CIA from user accounts.

The true impact and ethical judgment of Anonymous’s situation much like Robin Hood’s tales most likely lies somewhere in the middle between right and wrong.  One can’t consistently rob and expose governments and strip them of all their power without adverse effects, however each country should have checks and balances, Anonymous provides a powerful and needed check.



  1. Partition Recovery

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  2. Garth Seiner

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