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Would the real Anonymous please stand up - Tactical Ninja

Apr. 20th, 2011

09:47 am - Would the real Anonymous please stand up

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So, in an interesting turn of events, yesterday a video* was posted to YouTube purporting to be a message from the group Anonymous (of taking down PayPal/Matercard/Visa fame) to the New Zealand government. The video was taken down very quickly, for 'violating YouTube's terms of service'. However, copies of it went up again just as quickly and it's still viewable here. For the YouTube un-enabled, here's a transcript:

"This is a message to the New Zealand Government.
We are Anonymous. We have been watching the actions taken by you and your legislation. The passing of the Infringing File Sharing bill is both a form of censorship and an invasion of privacy. Anonymous will not let this go by unnoticed.

Your beliefs that one is guilty until proven innocent is an unlawful and unjust policy. We do not believe that one, when accused of copyright infringement should be questioned by their internet support provider and eligible to pay a $15,000 fine unless proven innocent. We do not believe that one, when accused of copyright infringement should be sentenced to six months suspension of internet usage unless proven innocent. We do not believe that one, when accused of copyright infringement shall be called a criminal in the eyes of the Government for the simple act of accessing information unless proven innocent.

Those opposing the copyright law via online protest – we are with you.New Zealand, you now have the full attention of Anonymous.

We are Anonymous.
We are legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us."


The video itself shows the Anonymous symbol, followed by a series stills of the blacked-out icons that symbolise the blackout protest movement, then some shots of the famous 'V for Vendetta' mask.


The story was picked up by 3 News, and also National Business Review. No other media seems to have spoken out. There's debate over whether it's real or not.

Those on the side saying it's a hoax say that the misspelling in the title and the use of the term 'internet support provider' demonstrates that this isn't Anonymous because Anonymous would not make these mistakes. Those on the side saying it's real point out that this isn't the original video, that the original was posted through an Anonymous account, and that this is a cobbled-together version that would not violate the terms of service and therefore stay there. And stay there it has.

I am not any kind of an expert on such things. I'm not sure whether or not I agree with Anonymous's methods. What I do know is that whether the video is fake or not, it's got the attention of a whole bunch of people. It will probably have the effect of polarising viewpoints - those who are against Anonymous will now feel more strongly about the filesharing legislation, and those who support them will maybe start to think about what else is going on around it.

And if Anonymous really is watching, there's a chance the issues I've been talking about here and elsewhere will actually start to make the news. Anonymous has been known to target governments before and I'd be really interested to see what might be revealed as a result of a thorough hack of ours. So in a way, I'm kind of hoping that it's real, and if it isn't I'm glad that someone did it because it's mobilised a few more people.



[edit] This vid was uploaded by anonyops today.

Last night there was dinner with Dr Wheel's family. For me with my tiny, relatively quiet family, being in that group is like going into a crazy dream. He has three brothers and with parents, partners etc we totalled 11 people. All are witty, engaged and smart and the conversation pings around the table at high speed, segueing from Mongolian ancestry to hippie pants to the genetic factor in people's perception of other people's smell in the space of minutes. All the while, food appears on the lazy susan and everyone's helping themselves at high speed, kind of like a Western yum cha. It's chaotic and brain-bending and I love it. And since there's lots of them, these dinners happen regularly. It's really nice to be included as part of a large family - as an expat it's something I have historically only got to hear about. So for me, today is Wheel Family appreciation day.

And one of them in particular. <3


* I am waiting for the day when I stop using the word 'video' to describe these short clips. Since, you know, videos haven't been used since The Kid was in nappies.

Comments:

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From:anna_en_route
Date:April 19th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
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Don't know whether I agree with Annonymous or not but those using the handle have proved to be suprisingly effective hackers.

If I were Melissa Lee, I would be damn careful with my twitter account...
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
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I heard, but have not checked, that Melissa Lee has been strangely silent since that tweet about her mixtape went viral on Twitter.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:27 pm (UTC)
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If she starts talking about goatse, I'm going to be sceptical...
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From:crsg
Date:April 19th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
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I'm wondering how exactly the original video violated YouTube's terms of service? Normally that message tends to be used for either someone posting porn, or someone putting up a video that isn't theirs to put up.

Either way, I hope the video is real. I have my doubts that it is, but frankly, the idea that it might just be tickles me a bit.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
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Likewise, on all counts. I think they also have terms for hate speech, content that violates copyright (like a backing track or whatever*), and stuff like dead bodies.

* Considering how many folks post vids of their horses with obviously-copyrighted backing tracks, I'd be really suspicious of why YouTube took down an Anonymous vid for doing that and not someone jumping 1ft on Sparkles, you know?
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From:t_c_da
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:27 pm (UTC)
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The perceived popularity (as seen by YouTube) of the posted clip may have something to do with Sparkles being OK but Anonymous being Not OK...
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
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Sparkles is totally out to bring down the new world order.
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From:vernacularity
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
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what else can you call it? a film?

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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
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I thought about that, but film is even older and less relavant. So is clip.

It's interesting that mp3 (etc) has come to replace tape, record etc - but track is still common to describe music. And I'm failing to think of a more modern term than video to describe moving pictures.

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From:anna_en_route
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:27 pm (UTC)
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Isn't it a Latin term anyhow?
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
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No idea. *goes to check*

Yes. Apparently it comes from the latin 'videre', or 'to see'. So it seems it's not outdated yet.

Although I saw a joke the other day (sorry can't find link) in which they'd used a picture of a videotape with the question "What is this?" as an age authenticator. ;-)
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From:clashfan
Date:April 20th, 2011 12:40 am (UTC)
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I think that 'video' is relevant, but 'film' may not be. One can watch a video on YouTube, or on a DVD, or a Blu-Ray. Or even a VHS.

In re: music, the term 'track' is useful because it describes a bit of music which might not be a 'song', per se, but is discrete from other bits of music. I don't think 'mp3' or 'file' are any more accurate than 'track' in this context.

Of course, I suppose Yank opinions on verbiage may not carry much weight for Kiwis. :-)
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From:bekitty
Date:April 20th, 2011 01:32 am (UTC)
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Video is Latin for "I see"; audio is Latin for "I hear". :)
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From:t_c_da
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)
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"Movie" might be relevant (apart from the implicit connotation of a big budget lengthy production) given that most YouTube clips involve movement of one sort or another...
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From:vernacularity
Date:April 20th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
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well! I reckon "video" is a description of the content, not the format ;)

or movie.

just that "video" used to refer to video tapes... and then dvds came along.
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From:bekitty
Date:April 20th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)
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What about the fact that we still "rewind" and "fast forward" DVDs? Not to mention rewinding live TV.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 20th, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
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Anything that claims to be from Anonymous and is anonymous is, more or less by definition Anonymous. As such, it's not really possible to have a "hoax", as that would presuppose that there's an individual or group who get to define what is and is not Anonymous in the first place.

The entire point of Anonymous is that it doesn't exist. It's essentially a rather clever troll at established authorities who assume organisation and agency where there is none.

I started reading Foucalt, and I suspect he has clever things to say about this at some point.

Rah

-W
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From:tatjna
Date:April 20th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
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Indeed, and that's one of the things that makes the Anonymous phenomenon really interesting.

Especially when you start considering things like the use of a logo, a hive, and targeted attacks on specific political subjects in the context of the non-existence of Anonymous. And attempt to weigh the probability of any action stemming from any message delivered under the title of Anonymous.

And then, just for kicks, checking in with Fuckalt to see what he thinks. Because the thoughts blue-spotted fuzzy leopards with bellybuttons are generally easier to comprehend than those of certain French philosophers.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 20th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
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I think that, if one were clever, one could exploit the curious nature of Anonymous for some veeeery interesting political and social disruption.

Take a real life example. There are various terrorist organisations that don't really exist, except insofar as individuals or small groups choose to call themselves such. The response of major consolidated powers to these is typically rather self-destructive.

My cursory reading of the first chapter of the kid's primer on Foucalt suggests that Anonymous has enormous power, as they get to define their organisation without actually having one, and make everyone else conform to that definition and do stupid shit.

More than anything, they make assumptions about agency made by those in power very ... obvious.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 20th, 2011 03:23 am (UTC)
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Thing is, Anonymous is a real life example. And the objective sociologist/wonk side of me is watching with interest the development of the reputation of Anonymous and the impact this has on the way various organisations respond to it.

The subjective side of me that is quite invested in the outcome of the opposition to the TPPA (and subset filesharing/copyright policy) is jumping around going "Yay! The reputation of Anonymous is bringing this to people's attention which might give the whole issue political traction!"

And I am struggling to articulate properly what I think that means - it doesn't matter if it's some Kiwi geek in a basement, a concerned grandma or my 15 year old son and his mate who posted that video. It doesn't matter if no action under the title of Anonymous actually happens. Anonymous has done a thing and there will be consequences of some kind from this - and some philosopher has probably given a fancy-schmancy name for this phenomenon, but I don't know it.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:April 20th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
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There is also the possibility of a faux anonymous generating real life outrage and stupid behaviour from its target resulting in the core anonymous showing up to the party...
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