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Did it for the Lulz

Just finished the book "We are Anonymous" by Parmy Olson which was a good read, good look into a more progressive form of terrorism. It's interesting because before I read this book I had a more respectful opinion of Anonymous, because the media that they get typically is related to the political activism side, and the Guy Fawkes quotes, and the sense of purpose. LulzSec on the other hand got a bad rap more or less because it didn't seek to proclaim some sense of purpose or something that it was fighting against, it was literally a group of people doing this stuff because they could.

After reading this book my opinions have been somewhat reversed. For one, I feel like a more true explanation of what has gone down with Anonymous is less noble and organized then the media would have it appear. The media wants people to be scared that there is this organized cyber-crime syndicate out there wearing masks. But most of the people involved are just a bunch of kids messing around because they don't have much to do in the real world anymore, there's not a lot of purpose in the world for kids and so they create this sense of non-purpose that is fulfilling in a way. Really only the outliers are true political activists, usually these people are not the instigators but rather the clean-up crew who frame what happened in a meaningful light.

That being said, it actually boosts my opinion of LulzSec for taking the voice from these outliers. Topiary really did some profound when he spoke to the world and explained that there was no purpose whatsoever for any of it, it took a lot of courage and I commend him for it.

The other thing that I became more conscious of reading this book is how invasive the internet can be. It's always been that way, potentially your IP address can be tracked back to you so a person in the right situation can find you if they want to, but also the statistic that something like 60 million PCs in the world are infected by botnets, so they can be used at any time to hold a company ransom by taking their site down, and you would know nothing about it unless you had the right security software. It's something that I've been vaguely aware of, but reading this book brought to the front of my mind how scary the internet can be.

Yet that's the direction the world is heading, and at this point part of why it is so scary is because public awareness is so low. A very small percentage of people online are actually tapped into the potential of information gathering and manipulation, most run around obliviously clicking on links and tweeting about their day-to-day life. Inevitably, unless the course of human evolution changes dramatically, the internet is going to be playing a larger role in our lives year after year, and to not fully come to terms with this or educate ourselves on the danger and potential therein is reckless. It would be like taking a job as an engineer without ever learning the math behind it.

While I'm pretty bad at math, I still do want to learn.


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