Anonymous hacks for good causes
by Ryan George, correspondent
Modern evils such as kidnappings by Mexican drug cartels, child pornography websites, and corporate corruption are recently finding opposition from an unlikely source: computer hackers.
A hacking group called “Anonymous” is gaining public support recently for their vigilante efforts to oppose these issues. According to the online media company Technorati, “The infamous ‘Anonymous’ hacker group decided to target a collection of child pornography sites called Freedom Hosting and succeeded in not only crashing the sites but also releasing the names of almost 1,600 users who frequent them.”
These are not the only reported successes of the group. In response to a kidnapping of one of their members by one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels (the Zetas), Anonymous threatened to reveal the names of members of the gang, including corrupt policemen. The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported, “They had called off the action after the Zetas met a demand to release a kidnapped group member.” The report went on to say that nevertheless some members of Anonymous will continue their activities against the Zetas. A Twitter post by self-proclaimed hacking member Barrett Brown read, “I will be continuing the fight against the cartels.”
While many in the general public support these activities of Anonymous, other activities have not produced a clear consensus. The group has threatened Wall Street in support of the Occupy Wall Street movements; they have also crashed some Israeli defense websites in protest of their Nov. 4 blockade of two ships attempting to enter Gaza.
John Sauceda, Moody’s manager of program support with Information Systems, responded to the dilemma involved in their activities. “Part of me cheers them on, the other says ‘wait a minute here,’” he said. Sauceda acknowledged that the issue is “difficult to pin down. Yeah, I blew up your server but I exposed what you are doing.” He added, “Look at history, the Civil Rights Movement. You had Christians literally breaking the laws all the time to achieve a better result.”
In an increasingly digital age, Christians can expect to wrestle with their convictions toward groups like Anonymous. Weston McCready, a writer for Technorati, expressed his opinion: “I know I myself will sleep better tonight knowing that some organizations out there are hacking for the greater good to stop horrors such as this and not trying to get my credit card number.”