Several suspected members of “Anonymous” were arrested Tuesday morning in states across the country in a federal raid on the notorious computer hacking group. In addition, searches of homes took place in Long Island, New York, with others occurring in Brooklyn, Colorado, Washington DC, and Ohio.
The state of California filed charges against 14 people believed to be linked to Anonymous, with other indictments coming out of Newark, New Jersey and Tampa, Florida courthouses. Suspects in the UK and the Netherlands were also arrested early today in a sting that nabbed over 20 people internationally.
Age is not a factor in the crackdowns. A British schoolboy has been arrested for allegedly being part of both Anonymous and another group called LulzSec, which has been linked to a wave of cyber attacks on high-profile organizations. The 16-year-old (no name given) from South London was yesterday questioned under the Computer Misuse Act over links with these hacking groups.
We at the SGU were approached a few years ago by people claiming to be a part of the Anonymous organization. This was during a time when we were going hot and heavy against Tom Cruise and Scientology. They were essentially attempting to cozy up to us so that we would speak favorably about their organization’s efforts to bring down Scientology via their Project Chanology. We declined to answer any of their emails or inquiries, for reasons that may seem terribly obvious today.
Suffice to say, I have never cared for Anonymous. I have a big time problem with hacker culture. They are anarchists, not just in philosophy, but in action. They employ destructive tactics against anyone or any organization that they deem as an enemy. The lawlessness and destructiveness inherent in their beliefs and actions are just the sort of thing that is anathema to honest and law-abiding skeptical organizations.
While we may share some of the same “enemies” in the world, it is not the goal of the SGU, or any other legitimate skeptical organization that I can think of, to operate or scheme outside the boundaries of the laws of our country’s government. Chaos and anarchy are not the calling cards of good skeptics. They are the tactics of thugs and criminals whom deserve to be persecuted to the fullest extents of the law.
So what happens to Anonymous from here? I can only imagine that they will continue to work in the shadows, usurping civil order and discord, leaving a wake of pain and frustration in people’s lives, not the least of which are the “unintended” (or by now, intended) consequences of the actions of these hacker groups, and others just like them.
There should be no tolerance for hackers and the hacker culture, least of all by anyone in the skeptical community.