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Anonymous & Lulz Security Statement to the FBI (pastebin.com)
459 points by p4bl0 on July 21, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 241 comments



"it's entirely unacceptable to break into websites and commit unlawful acts"

This is quite the hypocritical statement coming from the FBI. As far as I can tell, the only difference between Anonymous, Lulzsec, and the FBI is that the FBI act by executive fiat. I don't support Internet vigilanteism, but I also don't support the concept of the FBI as an untouchable force who are no longer held accountable by the public they are theoretically serving.

At this point, I'm not sure which one I find more scary.


> "At this point, I'm not sure which one I find more scary."

There will always be scofflaws and pranksters. Indeed for our way of life to be assured, they must be able to exist.

The ever-growing reach of the military-espionage-industrial complex is the only real threat.


The scary part isn't that scofflaws and pranksters exist, which (as you say) is practically inevitable. But what if we as a society may some day depend on them to preserve our freedom?

Viewing my world in terms of black and white has always been more of a comforting illusion than a reasonable approximation of reality. I realize this. But either these self-styled hacktivists are rationalizing their hooliganism with noble-sounding platitudes or they honestly believe that their way is the best way to fight against corporate corruption and government abuse of its own constituents.

If the former, it's becoming less obvious. And the latter is a frightening thought indeed. One day I might have to choose between a government agency whose actions have transcended public accountability (as in the Instapaper raid), corporations who will gladly sacrifice me on the altar of their own convenience (as in the Peter Adekeye case), or a capricious band of anonymous malcontents who might fight for my rights or might hold me up to public mockery and exploitation "for the lulz".

But what really scares me is that the choice will be made for me.


I have to find myself agreeing with this, the fact that these individuals (FBI members, govt agencies in general.) are funded beyond the means of normal individuals and given resources that money can't buy. (well I'm sure enough of it can.) Gives them an edge that many people can't fight against. They can do whatever they want with impunity. Now I can't say that opening up a server and releasing all it's users passwords is right, or fair, but there comes a time in war where there must be casualties. In this war of Anon VS govt/corp, Anonymous must use unfair tactics, if only to level out the playing field.

That all said, this all reeks of a cold civil war, maybe something will come out of it, maybe nothing will. I'll just keep doing what I do, solving issues of non-freedom the way I can, one person at a time. A lot could be done if people just acted better towards each other. But I think right now that's too much to ask of us(humans).


The fact that we're even able to have these thoughtful discussions means that at least we're evolving as a species.

For the sake of our survival, may we eventually get to a point where people are judged more for how they treat others, rather than what they are able to purchase.


Cory Doctorow's novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, "whuffie" is the ephemeral, reputation-based currency. The book describes a post-scarcity economy: All the necessities (and most of the luxuries) of life are free. Whuffie has replaced money, providing a motivation for people to do useful and creative things. A person's Whuffie is a general measurement of his or her overall reputation and is gained (or lost) according to a person's favorable (or unfavorable) actions.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Whuffie


That's the one book I haven't read by Cory, I wonder if one can modify bitcoins into this(yea i had to bring up bitcoin, it's hacker news req right?)


First time I've seen that phrase with the 'espionage' added in there. Makes perfect sense though, espionage should have been part of that term decades ago


Well said.

There is no difference between what Lulzsec and Anonymous do, compared with the FBI storming into a data centre without warrants and grabbing hardware.

None at all. In fact, the FBI did more damage.


with the FBI storming into a data centre without warrants and grabbing hardware.

Has it been proven that this is what happened?


Having looked back, it seems the Instapaper blog has been redacted. But I ask the questions:

Has it been proved the equipment was fairly taken?

I thought over the Atlantic pond it was "Innocent until proven guilty." It seems guilt was assumed and equipment taken.

No trial.


It hasn't been unproven either. At least the antisec keeps up posted with full transparency as they go.


FBI did not break any federal laws.


Well that only makes it even worse doesn't it?


I think that the FBI isn't really the overblown privacy killing big govt overlords that this lil anon skirmish seems to paint them as. The FBI, for the most part, do a mighty fine job of enforcing the law and keeping the peace. Also the FBI operates largely on a case by case basis, they are not an intelligence or defense agency, they are in the justice department.

I think the orwellian big govt agency these hacker guys seem to base their doctrine against is the NSA. The 'we can listen to any phone call on the planet, imprison our whistle blowers, collect every bit of data on everybody, consume 1/4 of the power of the baltimore metro area for our data centers, have projects so secret you didnt know you didnt know about' NSA. Either anon knows this, and know they stand NO chance hacking the NSA, or theyve been misguided on who to target. my vote is a bit of both... I'm not gonna give you sources on this, but there is plenty of legitimate and credible reading out there to satidify your curisioty.

Also, hi out there to all you intel analysts reading... ;)


> At this point, I'm not sure which one I find more scary.

Maybe the ones with guns.

Today I have not heard of a single case of hackers using guns to make a point, but the government does all of the time.

I can live with all of the hysteria in the world if someone does not mame my body, with blunt objects, explosions, pointy things, or projectiles.


Maim.

MAME is an arcade machine emulator. ;)


Is an aircraft crashing into a building not a source of "blunt objects, explosions, pointy things, or projectiles" that can maim your body?

So far the acts of these groups have only been against typical websites. What happens when it escalates to aircraft, air-traffic control systems, nuke plants, dams, and other things where disrupted systems could cause massive loss of life?


and marijuana smoking always leads to heroin abuse...

cek...get a grip. sometimes we have to wait for the future and adapt instead of trying to control it.

Would you rather struggle/suffer/work for an imaginary possible situation or one that exists?


We already are. It's called "the war on terror".


Even if Lulzsec gets some of your data, they aren't going to create a huge database of it.

The FBI on the other hand...


but the internet is one huge database, and that is where their info is released.


Better a decentralized police state than a centralized one.

In fact, a decentralized police state is exactly the only thing a centralized police state has to fear.

E.g. see the laws making it illegal to film police in public.


why wouldn't they?


Because only governments and big corporations do bad things, of course.


Unfortunately, their definition of "lawful" is that the FBI is doing it.

That said, I wouldn't go so far as to call this hypocritical. The FBI at least pretends to have a morally reasonable agenda for its actions.


Aren't you missing something here? LulzSec also claims to have a morally reasonable agenda. Indeed, LulzSec claims to be entirely in the right, morally speaking. Now, reasonable folks can disagree about whether they are actually in the right, but it's false to claim that they are not "pretending" or claiming to have a morally reasonable agenda. They are, quite clearly, making that claim.


To me, that's the definition of hypocrisy. They pretend to be acting from a moral (or at least societal) high ground and roundly condemn the actions of anonymous. However, both are engaging in the exact same behavior. Now that's hypocritical!


The FBI doesn't normally, and it is not their purpose to engage in the exact same behavior. 95% of the time, they act within bounds I suspect you agree with. I wouldn't consider the 95% hypocrites, only the 5%, and so I can't call the whole agency hypocritical, only parts.


Are you allowed to break into other people's property and use weapons to enforce your own system of rules on them? Nope.

Are you allowed to lock people in a cage for decades because they do something you disagree with? Of course not.

Is the FBI allowed to do this? Well, yes, but only because they're special and you have to do what they say, not what they do. Now what's this word hypocrite you speak of?


The Lulzsec crew and Wiki Leaks strikes a nerve like modern day Robin Hoods. It makes you wonder if those of us in wealthy democracies are actually experiencing a peculiarly 21st century form of passive aggressive oppression where we may be "free" but monitored and essentially feel helpless and the fact that these unknown hackers are able to duck and evade the same forces that can hunt and kill terrorists with disregard of sovereignty makes them look like folk heroes. We'll see how this saga unfolds.


Why "Robin Hoods"? Why not Minutemen? I don't know the complete story of Robin Hood, but I always feel a tinge of class warfare from people who invoke his name.

This has nothing to do with class. It has to do with unwarranted and unprovoked aggression by political elites. I don't condone what these hackers did, but there's little to disagree with in that letter. Our behemoth government and its fascist relationship with big business spits in the face of our founding principles: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Something will need to change, or (pardon the cliché) we're gonna end up like Greece.


Robin Hood has stood for a lot of things depending on which poem one reads and which people in which century's opinion of him is being counted. One of the most popular traditions of Robin Hood is of him as monarchist supporting the true king, Richard, and opposing Richard's brother, John (the one defeated at Runnymeade. By the way, this is over 500 years old, not invented in the 19th century as some think.) You can think of Anonymous in the same way -- they are opposing an illegitimate regime and would happily stand down should the excesses of the FBI et al be ended by the government.


Robin Hood is less about class, and more about power.

(Of course in it's setting, class was defined by power)


More explicitly stated:

Robin Hood did not "rob from the rich and give to the poor". He attacked oppressors and protected the oppressed (only rarely giving them money). While the oppressors tended to be rich and the oppressed tended to be poor, there were exceptions. IIRC, there is even a tale where Robin protects a wealthy knight from peasants who are trying to rob him.


I view them as more akin to the anti-war and anti-establishment groups formed in the 60s and 70s. The difference these days is that you don't need to blow anything up to get people's attention. There aren't proxy targets.

You can directly target the org that you disagree, crack their db/site, release, or even just sit on, their info, and get epic press attention.


Kind of unfair to lump Lulzsec and Wikileaks together.


As the political structures become more like the networks we rely on, there's no hierarchy to subvert, just protocols and sites to exploit. Galloway and Thacker's books _Protocol_ and _The Exploit_ have an interesting philosophical discussion of how power struggles will play out in the coming years.


They are in no way "modern day Robin Hoods". Hoodlums maybe.


A lot of people seems to miss the fact that LulzSec #antisec etc. are the new Yippies[1] and pastebin is their new TAP[2]. Their goals are not very different and the means of action are just 40 years later. The "for teh lulz" part was already there too.

[1] https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Yippies

[2] https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Youth_Interna...


The Sheriff of Nottingham surely thought Robin Hood was a hoodlum too.


Except we aren't the sheriff in this scenario. We are the people Robin Hood is trying to help. And I say petty thuggery and vandalism aren't helping.



Please clarify this statement.

Are you suggesting that my distain for LulzSec and its methods are some how the result of brain washing or extreme trama?

And if "We the people" are the Sheriff in this little Robin Hood adventure, who are the poor villagers Robin is trying to help?

What a ridiculous reply. Or are we just naming random psychological phenomenon? If thats the case, I choose http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapheme%E2%80%93color_synesthe...


My attempt at understanding burgerbrain's comment leads me to believe that "we the people" are the victims, and our kidnappers are the government and corporate super powers operating via government action to provide legitimacy. While the Antisec people are trying to save us.

I'm not saying I agree, but that's my interpretation.


Your interpretation is accurate.

Think about it, how many people in this world have actually signed up to be dominated by their government? Very very few (immigrants might count). Yet we don't question their authority because 1) we are used to it, and 2) every few years, they ask our opinion. Of course they know that they can safely ask our opinion because they know that we've already bought into the entire thing. It's like Patty Hearst participating in robberies. We mistakenly think that they protect us when in reality they are just exploiting us.


So in this little metaphor, the people play the role of the hostages, the government plays the role of the kidnappers (lawless criminals) and LulzSec play the role of the government (the good guys trying to save you)

Interesting. Confusing, but interesting.

> Think about it, how many people in this world have actually signed up to be dominated by their government?

No one is making any such claims.

Your claim appears to be that the government is this "big bad evil uncle who just wants to rape you" or some such nonsense. Do all governments have issues with corruption, abuse of power and not honouring individual's rights: Yes. Has LulzSec exposed a single government (or private/corporate) abuse? Not that I can find.

Lets take a look at some of their releases:

62,000 random logins > Wow, that sounds like a very decisive and clear attack on those taking our rights roll eyes Senate.gov internal data > A copy of their apache config file, and a full file list (no real data, just the file names), I can only assume the documents they found would be so damming and pervasive that it would be wrong to release them....or it was just a publicly accessible site that had nothing to hide, not sure Pron.com user database > Clearly human rights abuses happen every day in the Pron.com offices....when they aren't watching porn Sony International and friends > I know they tend to make shitty stuff, especially music, but I have yet to have a single person be able to point to an action by sony that could be called "dominating", "abusive", "unjust", etc PBS.org > Does this even need an explanation? PBS isnt some evil company out to fuck the little guy. Take a look at their scheduling, Sesame Street, Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! and Seven Wonders of Ancient Egypt. So what exactly has the evil PBS perpetrated to warrant this?

Even the Fox.com hack appears to be their licensing portal for other channels to license their syndicated content. It wasn't even news related, it was the site that let my local fox affilate run crappy reality tv. Absolutely ground breaking.

> We mistakenly think that they protect us when in reality they are just exploiting us.

Really? Because you appear to be mistakenly thinking that LulzSec is her to protect you, rather then exploit you.

They broke into a private computer network, stole your personal information (not the companies, not emploies, but your's) published it without your consent, and encouraged others to use it to commit further crimes agents you. All for personal enjoyment. How exactly has any of their acts helped any real situation? How is LulzSec violating your right to privacy considered an acceptable price to pay for....for what, free porn?


Sony International and friends > I know they tend to make shitty stuff, especially music, but I have yet to have a single person be able to point to an action by sony that could be called "dominating", "abusive", "unjust", etc

Perhaps you are unaware of their removal of OtherOS or persecution of geohot?

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2614698 (a previous comment I made on another article)


"So in this little metaphor, the people play the role of the hostages, the government plays the role of the kidnappers (lawless criminals) and LulzSec play the role of the government (the good guys trying to save you)

Interesting. Confusing, but interesting."

Yes, you do seem rather confused.

"you appear to be mistakenly thinking that LulzSec is her to protect you"

I am under no such illusion. However, I do recognize that the enemy of my far far far more powerful enemy is.. well.. as good a friend as any.


So the abuses LulzSec perpetrates are acceptable because they aren't as powerful as the big bad evil government? Or because they appear to hate the government as much as you?

I also could not help but notice you ignored my other points and questions, so ill sum it up.

How has anything LulzSec done been constructive to the cause you claim they represent?


I don't claim LulzSec represents any cause.

It is offtopic, but I respect LulzSec specifically because I think they have the potential to drive home the concepts and ramifications of computer security, a topic which I find particularly interesting and important for personal reasons.

As for them attacking non-government targets? I didn't address this at first because you are making too many assumptions about myself for it to be very interesting, however since you asked: 1) See the above. 2) Doesn't effect me, so I don't give a shit. 3) Funny as hell.


> I don't claim LulzSec represents any cause. > It is offtopic, but I respect LulzSec specifically because I think they have the potential to drive home the concepts and ramifications of computer security, a topic which I find particularly interesting and important for personal reasons.

You justify violating individuals privacy in order to further the cause of computer security? That is an acceptable trade off to you?

> I didn't address this at first because you are making too many assumptions about myself for it to be very interesting

Please quote me on unfounded assumption about you or your views

> Doesn't effect me, so I don't give a shit.

I think this is the most telling response you've made. You might have well as said "Human rights are not important, unless they are mine" because thats how it reads.


"You justify violating individuals privacy in order to further the cause of computer security? That is an acceptable trade off to you?"

Yes. Does that bother you? Because I don't care.


Well, I think that about sums things up. burgerbrain doesn't "give a shit" about your rights, only his own! But we should still respect his option for some reason I can't think of right now.


Oh whoa is you. I don't respect the rights of multinational corporations. The horror!


I'm not talking about multinational corporations! I'm talking about the people, individuals that did nothing more sinister then reuse a password, who's personal information was released without their consent.

Whoa is everyone except you, who's rights you scoff at.


Not at all. Those people were hurt by the corporation not securing their information. They were hurt the moment they used the service. The hack didn't open an otherwise locked door, it just made public (to the likes of you) what anyone with knowledge of escape sequences and SQL could have already seen.

Lulzsec's hacks hurt the companies whose reputation was right-sized, but justly, and helped the people by exposing the weak security. I'd rather know my CC was leaked so I could cancel it than learn years later I'd been subtly overcharged while under a false sense of security.

Nobody is glad more people died in crashes before seat-belts, even though we're glad that we now have seat-belts despite and we know we only have them because so many people died. Similarly, we aren't specifically glad that people's accounts were leaked, but when we're using a more robust service in five years, largely due to this publicity, we'll be thankful regardless.

btw, you mean 'Woe'.


Cry me a river.


And this has stopped being a mature conversation. Have a nice day.


You're late to the party babe.


> Are you suggesting that my distain for LulzSec and its methods are some how the result of brain washing or extreme trama?

Yes. Absolutely.

If such an organization did not exist, such that you weren't conditioned to accept their abuses, you would be appropriately horrified to hear about the abuses that are currently being committed.

By exposing you to ridiculous premises like a color-coded terror threat level and lies like Iraqi nuclear programs, terror connections, etc, you've been conditioned to think you need an abusive security apparatus. You're so intentionally self-deluded about the nature of the world that you can't understand who's stepping on your neck.

Whatever good our security apparatus may have originally been created to do they are now unacceptably corrupted in that they refuse civilian oversight ever where obvious crimes have been committed from within their ranks. That you fixate on minor website inconvenience to these organizations ("vandalism") while ignoring the scale of the injustices going on shows you're hardly able to even think ill of these organizations.


This response reeks of inaccurate presumptions about my beliefs, options and reasoning. Not to mention, you aren't even the guy I was replying to. But I will respond none the less because I believe in open conversation.

>That you fixate on minor website inconvenience to these organizations ("vandalism") while ignoring the scale of the injustices going on shows you're hardly able to even think ill of these organizations.

That you fixate on minor website inconveniences to these organizations ("vandalism") and parade them around like some kind of political message or instrument of change shows just how biases you are. Please give me one piece of evidence (hell, I'll even take conjecture) that these acts of "vandalism" are even related to the "horrifying" injustices the big bad government and security forces commit. How have they helped your cause? Have they stopped a single injustice? Or raised awareness for a reputable cause (besides them selves)?

I think not.

If you want to talk about "horrifying abuses" by the government "with its boot on my neck" then lets talk about that. What does LulzSec have to do with it? Parading them around as heros of a cause they clearly have little concern for and even less connection to only serves to weaken your position on a legitimate issue, government abuse.


If these are just minor cases of "vandalism", then why do you care enough to write about it? You lend validity to the post you respond to by responding to it.


Did you see the context of that comment? It was direct quote from the user I was replying to. I used the term "vandalism", in quotes, because that was how the previous poster categorized them. Do I consider them vandalism, on par with graffiti? No. Will a semantic discussion about how to refer to the crimes change anything? I don't see how.


> Do I consider [Lulzsec's actions] vandalism, on par with graffiti? No.

You speak of your disdain for them, though. Why do you even know about them? Banks are hacked regularly and it's not news at all, but leak a few documents and you become public enemy #1.

> If you want to talk about "horrifying abuses" by the government "with its boot on my neck" then lets talk about that. What does LulzSec have to do with it?

Nothing, mostly. That's sort of the point. They're really nothing at all and they're getting a completely jackbooted response - far beyond what an unsolved murder would get.

> Please give me one piece of evidence (hell, I'll even take conjecture) that these acts of "vandalism" are even related to the "horrifying" injustices the big bad government and security forces commit.

They've leaked some documents from Arizona because of their dislike of the new identification laws. They hacked PBS because they didn't like their coverage of Wikileaks. They hacked Sony because of Sony's previous unfair dealings.

They clearly are politically and accountability motivated, even if you don't agree with their goals or perceptions.

> Parading them around as heros of a cause they clearly have little concern for

Heroes? No. But to be commended for putting their comfort on the line to do something they believe in.

We're only hearing about them because of the disproportional response to them. Other than making work for a few web admins they hurt nothing that didn't need hurting - like the reputation of a company running an insecure service. The passwords were already leaked to anyone who asked. If they were legally treated as the 'trivial vandals' they're denigrated as there wouldn't be misinformation and ham-handed raids in response. The story is the government overreaction.

> only serves to weaken your position

My position being that the government is beholden to special interests, allergic to transparency, technically incompetent, vengeful, willing to hurt many bystanders to get a perceived enemy, etc? Nope. I think that point is doing pretty well, thanks.


Please do more to make your argument than just tossing out a link to Wikipedia.


The single phrase would have sufficed to make my point, I stated it as a link for those unfamiliar with the concept.


If I had the nerve I would join them.

Bad-taste jokes and troublemaking.

Badly written manifestos.

But I think there are some in the groups who have their heart in the right place and want to do the right thing. And, illegal or not, I've yet to see any other form of western activism that is as disruptive as leaking/hacking.


I've yet to see any other form of western activism that is as disruptive as leaking/hacking

I think that nails it. These days, the internet is the backbone of our world. There is no form of activism more effective than taking control of online resources, or releasing information.

If a form of activism is socially acceptable it probably means it is not effective anymore. Why go on the street to just get beaten up - and ignored by the media - when hacking is so much more effective in garnering attention for your cause?


And these days, if you go on the streets, biometrics will have you pegged in minutes.

EDIT: Downvoters: Just what do you think police are doing with all their cameras, at recent protests? And now there is -- I'm not kidding -- an iPhone device and app that connects to a privately created database of biometric information. Pricing is, per the public radio interview I heard just the other day, currently set at circa US$3000 / device. Pricy, but affordable.

FURTHER EDIT: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/07/20/biometrics


Their Twitter status from about half an hour ago is far more interesting:

https://twitter.com/#!/LulzSec/status/94033541196824576

"We're currently working with certain media outlets who have been granted exclusive access to some of the News of the World emails we have."


Reminded a bit of V for Vendetta's speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EORflS7uEIc

And bit of John F. Kennedy:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable


Reminded a bit of V for Vendetta's speech

Well, guess where they got the masks from, amongst other things. Anonymous is pretty much V incarnate. He's their idol and inspiration. He's everything they aspire to be.


Rest assured that it won't be the guardian. Charles Arthur, their useless tech editor, has recently been on the end of a torrent of spite from topiary, who writes the lulzsec press releases, likely including this one.

http://twitter.com/#!/atopiary

EDIT: apparently sabu has been joining in as well. Pretty amusing.


Clicked expecting atopiary/sabu to be juvenile and Charles Arthur to be possibly clueless but professional, but it's actually hard to tell which side in those exchanges is more juvenile.


You can read the whole thread on one page here:

http://twitter.theinfo.org/93969411270123520

Considering he's technology editor, he just let himself get trolled HARD.


Why does Anonymous focus so much on attacking the US government (and related rich democratic countries) when it could instead be focused on fighting the governments that are actually oppressive? Nothing the US has ever done, even at it's most oppressive, could ever compare to what North Korea does to it's own citizen's on a regular basis. I would probably be much more sympathetic towards their cause if they focused most on attacking the organizations that are the worst rather than attacking the organizations that will get them the most attention. I read somewhere that an Anonymous hacker used to fight oppressive governments in Africa. Why did he stop? Why does he all the sudden need to deface PBS because they printed negative press coverage of their favorite website, WikiLeaks?

Are they really doing this for the good of mankind or are they just trying to get attention? Anonymous though they may be, they still seem to be just trying to get on the 5:00 news.


> Why does Anonymous focus so much on attacking the US government ... when it could instead be focused on fighting the governments that are actually oppressive?

You probably didn't, but I think many people will see an obvious contradiction in that statement.

> Nothing the US has ever done, even at it's most oppressive

However North Korea is not advertising itself around the world and taken seriously as a bastion of freedom, democracy, and human rights. US is while also managing to conduct wars on all continents, drop bombs in countries we are not even at war with (Pakistan), raped South American Continent for years, installed and supported countless of brutal dictators around the world. It has tortured, killed and starved to death (via sanctions countless) countless people.

US is attacked because it exerts the most influence. If you live in Columbia you are more influenced by US policy not North Korea. And that true for many regions and countries around the world. North Korea doesn't control the internet, US does.


Reading your comment is just depressing and is a prime example of the Dunning Kruger effect. I have a PhD in economics. No other country has been responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than the U.S. For instance, China and India are eradicating poverty at record levels because of the open borders for trade with the U.S. The Four Asian Tigers became developed nations primarily through trade with the U.S. Iraq is seeing rapid growth rates in its GDP, as its own government openly embraces us and wants our troops there to stablize its country, so they can safely build its country. And guess what? It's working. Iraq's death rates are tumbling, and now it's even lower than ours. I wish you would rely on actual data and facts for your responses.


> I have a PhD in economics.

Some anonymous internet user claims they have a PhD. Quickly, everyone, throw your brains out of the window and believe everything they say.

> It's working. Iraq's death rates are tumbling, and now it's even lower than ours.

Now I am not sure if you are serious or meant your post to be sarcastic. Maybe I underestimated your subtle sarcasm. But just in case it wasn't. I wonder why was Iraq having high death rates? Was there war going there? Maybe some sanctions were imposed too? Do you know? Or is recent history not part of the economics PhD dissertation.

> I wish you would rely on actual data and facts for your responses.

Or maybe just claim I have a PhD in economics so I don't have to provide any data.


Reading your comment is just depressing and is a prime example of the Dunning Kruger effect. I have a PhD in economics.

Is this supposed to say anything other than "you're stupid and I'm smart"? I would just say it that way. It takes fewer words and is more direct.


http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&#...

Hm, I see a dip caused by the Iran-Iraq war. Who made and sold the guns to the Iranians? I'm not sure! Then in 1991 something seems to have gone wrong. I think it was something about the US ambassador shrugging at Iraq when Iraq asked permission to stop Kuwait's slant drilling. Hm, then a massive dip followed, not sure who caused that.

But luckily the US showed up and stopped whatever evil world super power was suppressing the Iraqi economy! And just look how well off they were after the US got involved for the first time in 2003.

We boosted their GDP to $65 billion! Which seems a bit low considering we've literally lost $12 billion shipped into Iraq on pallets. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/feb/08/usa.iraq1

All hail the economics PHD and his Jolly Green Giant.

And oh hey, let's talk about death rate! http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?v=26&c=iz&c=us...

Hm, that stat seems to say that it's safer in Iraq than the United States. Perhaps you want to pick a more specific stat to mention?


Are you moving to Iraq? If not, why?


> Reading your comment is just depressing and is a prime example of the Dunning Kruger effect. I have a PhD in economics.

You must think you know a lot.

> No other country has been responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than the U.S.

That's like Microsoft taking credit for putting a PC in every home. In other words, claiming credit for a rising tide you were doing your best to fight.

> China and India are eradicating poverty at record levels because of the open borders for trade with the U.S.

Silly economist, there aren't open borders. Just try to move between China and the USA without unreasonably more money than a Chinese worker could earn.

Also your free trade comes with conditions attached - forced sale of resources for instance, or lowering of safety standards. More temporary income for some can't compensate a country for losing its natural resources at unreasonably low prices.

But yes, that we've outsourced production to them and lowered some existing barriers to trade has sent a lot of money their way. You seem to be operating under the trickle-down delusion though.

> Iraq is seeing rapid growth rates in its GDP,

Of course, get the resources flowing and lift the embargoes and the economy bounds up, though only to a fraction of what it would have been without the invasion.

> as its own government openly embraces us and wants our troops there to stablize its country,

Every dictator we've propped up has embraced us and thanked us for our troops - it's why we picked them.

> so they can safely build its country.

We don't have the government we want in the USA. How likely is it we've given them one they like?

> And guess what? It's working. Iraq's death rates are tumbling

We've stopped killing Iraqis? No? Oh, you just mean we just aren't killing them as quickly.

> and now it's even lower than ours

Bullshit. But even if it were it's another example of claiming credit for your limited role in cleaning up a mess you already started. In this case it just means you're bombing Pakistan more.

> I wish you would rely on actual data and facts for your responses.

I wish your PhD wasn't so narrow you were unable to see the facts for the data.


"Why are you working at that soup kitchen?"

"Excuse me?"

"Well, it just seems that there are millions of starving people in Africa. Isn't that a bigger hunger problem to solve than the 2000 homeless people in the city?"

"... Are you serious?"

"Why don't all of you guys in this kitchen just go to Africa, set up soup kitchens there on a bigger scale, and feed millions instead of hundreds? Surely that'd be a better use of your time!"

"... Get out."


A few points to consider:

1. Last time I checked North Korea wasn't founded on a series of charter documents proclaiming freedom from opression being a foundational concept.

2. What other governments are doing has absolutely no bearing on the US government systematically dismantling it's citizens personal freedoms.

3. If you really think the US government at it's worst can't compare with various tin pot dictatorships around the world (including North Korea) you need to take a survey course on US history. Forced sterilization in the name of eugenics, concentration camps, genocide, political prisoners, murder, corruption... you name it, the US has done it at one time or another.


1. Significance of your statement? Surely you're not saying that brutal dictatorships are fine so long as they're not ignoring earlier "charter documents"... We don't grade on a curve here.

2. The OP point was that on a 'relative badness' scale the US is better than other governments (see N Korea), so what other governments are doing is very relevant to their point.

3. Uh-huh. It's certainly enlightened of you not to believe patriotically that the US is perfect, but let's be realistic here--anything that US has done other countries have done too. It's fine (in fact it's necessary) to point out how the US is more dirty that commonly assumed, but the proper extension of that realization isn't that every other country/government must be cleaner than we presume them to be. All countries and governments are dirty to some degree or other. The relative rule of law and openness of US society means that our dirtiness eventually becomes public; the same in not true elsewhere.


>All countries and governments are dirty to some degree or other.

Other countries haven't positioned themselves as the world's policeman and moral authority (complete with a large network of military bases), AFAIK. If you set yourself up as a standard of freedom, then it's unsurprising that others will hold you to that standard.


Of course no other nation has positioned themselves as policeman–they can't logistically or financially do it (though perhaps the US can't financially do it either...). It's certainly not from any internalized Prime Directive. If they could, they would; see CCCP 1950-1991.

As for moral authority, I completely disagree. Every nation positions themselves as a moral authority. The other nations are just so small and/or weak that nobody really cares what they say. You really perceive a world of quiet and humble non-US nations, keeping their moral views to themselves?


>As for moral authority, I completely disagree. Every nation positions themselves as a moral authority. The other nations are just so small and/or weak that nobody really cares what they say.

True... other countries would do the same thing if they could (but they can't and the US can hence the need to try to keep the US in check).


> anything that US has done other countries have done too

So that's okay, then.


Obviously not, but while no state is completely innocent of bad behavior, there are wildly varying degrees to which they are guilty of it.

Comparing specific and often short-lived times in the US's history to the permanent, ongoing status quo of other nations is hardly an equitable comparison.

That said, I agree that the US, by its founding principles as well as its international status (both earned and self-appointed) make it more than deserving of being held to a higher standard than a rogue state. The price of freedom being eternal vigilance and all.


The US's transgressions were much longer lived (e.g. butality against Indians for 100s of years) than the DPRK's, which has only existed for ~60 years. Furthermore, the US's have had much more influence on many more people.

Notwithstanding, I'll bet the real reason is that the DPRK hasn't been actively trying to stop Anonymous and the US gov has.


In addition to the other valid points presented, here's one that just hit me:

Anonymous speaks English as their primary language. Of course Anonymous is made up of people from across the globe, but are there enough of them who a) speak/read Korean, b) care about North Korean politics and c) have the abilities to do something about it? Probably not. There are apparently enough English speakers that care about the politics of the English-speaking world that have the ability to do something about it, though.

Maybe this is a function of the distinct cultures involved, maybe it is a function of socioeconomic status, maybe it is a coincidence (doubtful), but no matter what caused it, the lingua franca of Anonymous is English. Their actions primarily affect the English-speaking world because the members of Anonymous who meet the criteria I listed above stand to benefit from it.


Does it really come as a shock that people prefer to protest the powers that are oppressing them and their friends, rather than the powers that are oppressing someone else on the other side of the planet?


No, the problem of misdirected anger is unsurprising.

And it's especially predictable with groups such as Anonymous who in their writings come off as pompous, childish, self-centred, and self-aggrandizing. Not the kind of traits that correlate with empathising with people on the other side of the planet.

Their strategy (setting aside the more base stuff that is just bullying and focussing on their attempts to appear principled and 'crusading') seems to be to latch on to easy populist targets in order to win others approval. Their politics are those of angry teenagers who've read enough Chomsky or Klein to get all riled up.


This is all well and good, but in reality the phrase "fix your own house before fixing someone else's" applies. If we can't have a good and fair government by the definition of the people, then can we really expect to fix other governments? Do we bring our own government in like we did with Afghanistan and Iraq and royally fuck up a country (not to say that those countries were in good shape in any way, nor to say we could fix them, they are pretty much dictated by oil as there have few other natural resources they can export)

I like to think if we had a good government that we can truly trust, then we can trust it to step out and assist worldwide injustices: land aid to the people fighting an oppressive government, enable communication between the oppressed, prevent the oppressive government from buying weapons, etc.


No. Human rights are the same for 'brown people' - their concerns are as important as those of privileged westerners. Their plight is much worse than that of young white hackers in the western world. Western hackers can by all means massage their egos by playing the rebellious teenager, but to claim that it's justifiably their top priority is not defensible.


No, the problem of misdirected anger is unsurprising.

To be clear, the gp is describing correctly directed anger, so the rest of your post addresses a different (although also important) issue.


NB: I deliberately characterised the anger as misdirected, despite the parent thinking otherwise.


How is the U.S. government specifically opressing them?



Exposing DPRK as corrupt and inhuman would not surprise anyone, nor would it change anything. Short of going to war with the DPRK (we already tried this once) nothing is going to change. Wikileaks/Anon/Lulzsec will have no effect on the DPRK.

Wikileaks/Anon/Lulzsec has a huge effect on our government(s) because they can be removed and rely on a lot of soft power. If we can't get our governments to care about human rights what chance is there to get the DPRK to change?


Wikileaks/Anon/Lulzsec will have no effect on the DPRK.

I think they would actually have a very detrimental effect. In the US, we routinely blame the governments of China and Russia for hacks that could easily be perpetuated by high schoolers who live there. No doubt, DPRK would blame our official institutions, giving them much more legitimacy (at least internally, but probably internationally too) when they claim that the world is out to get them.


The world IS out to get the DPRK. They just propose different reasons then we do, apparently we don't like their freedoms and are terrified of the Juche idea. We say we don't like them because they execute minors, the mentally retarded, start wars, proliferate nuclear weapons, maintain torture camps, and jail large amounts of their populations for personal choice issues, and refuse to sign simple treaties like land mine bans.

I'm not saying the DPRK is good, I don't think they are. Just remember that gov't will give you whatever reasons you need to support whatever they want to do no matter how silly or tenuous the connection is.


Tangent warning:

The most successful satire is indistinguishable from the real thing. Either way, I tip my hat.


Most frightening is how the DPRK regards their neighbors to the south and how they have militarized their border to prevent the free flow of people.

To start a war with another country, draw a line in the sand, militarize it and then imprison people because they want cross a line in the sand to be repatriated with their families is the mark of a very totalitarian regime. If it weren't for their military I don't think anyone would put up with this kind of behavior. The really cruel thing is that their people are impoverished by their military spending and then told that there isn't enough money for basic medical care. Even sadder than that is that what little is left after military spending is spent to fund the lavish lifestyle of the politically well connected in a futile attempt to make some pretense that their economy has not failed the vast majority of their populace.

What kind of country would buy more tanks while their vetrans, women, and children are left homeless?

What the world is proposing, namely that the DPRK stop spending so much on their military and take care of their people is really rather modest.


You know what is really funny about this? It applies (mostly) to any country I can think of.


I think that was largely the point of the Treaty of Westphalia.


This would make a brilliant speech at a Tea Party rally. Any more juice?


We could talk about how the DPRK uses its military against its people (college kids and religious sects), or uses it's vast prison complex as a labour pool. I've been told that some prisoners are being forced to labour to build new prisons and that companies in the DPRK can requisition workers from the prison pool to work for the companies and if they protest they will have their sentences extended.

Apparently Dear Leader has also requested that the courts start handing out even harsher sentences even though the DPRK leads the world in it's incarceration rate, rather than look to more progressive models such as in Europe that drastically reduce recivitism by treating convicts as people. I've even heard that even though you only have one candidate to vote for in the elections that you can still be stripped of this right if convicted of a crime, leading to a situation where vast swaths of the population cannot even participate in the ostensibly democratic process of the country.

Lets not even talk about the repressive system the DPRK uses to keep basic medicine out of the hands of those who need it. If you manage to afford medicine, you're not quite of of hock yet, even if you have a prescription you can still be jailed for drug offenses and aren't allowed to present the fact that you had a prescription at trial.

I've heard in their school system even in elementary school before the children have a chance to develop free thought that they must make group devotions to dear leader.

http://abytesgen01.securesites.net/ryan_murdock/2009/11/insi...

Apparently if you give up your citizenship you're never allowed to return to the country under penalty of law.

CCR said it best though: 5 year plans and new deals wrapped in golden chains.


>Why does Anonymous focus so much on attacking the US government (and related rich democratic countries) when it could instead be focused on fighting the governments that are actually oppressive?

Why does the EFF focus on electronic communication rights rather than physical torture? Because it's a valid issue and they feel is worth the focus. If the abuses in North Korea are more important to you than the abuses of the self-appointed leader of the free world then go focus on North Korea.


What can they attack in NK? Most governments that are truly oppressive don't have the kind of web presence and dependence on the Internet that make anonymous-style exploits viable.


The same reason class action lawsuits don't go after mom and pops. You target where the money and power are, and where they are mutually misused to gain the other.

USA has the money: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=GDP+by+country USA has the guns: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=military+expenditures+b...

Speaking truth to power falls under definition #2 of Patriot: "a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government. "

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/patriot


So, as long as there is some other country in the world that is more oppressive than the U.S., we shouldn't be addressing our own issues at home?

That's not a good recipe.


What specific issues do you have that can't be taken to your local congressman/woman? We have them for a reason.


You must be a troll. What the fuck good is taking the issue to your local congress person going to do? The majority of voters wanted the public option and made this know and what happened? The US government is owned by the rich corporations and has been for years. The "rules" they lay down for us to follow are just so many rat mazes that lead no where but let the naive feel like they're doing something meaningful.


You incorrectly assume that I recognize the legitimacy of their system.

Even if I did, do you want to know what issues I couldn't have taken care of by those people? Nearly anything that has industry lobbying behind it. They don't give a shit about individual "citizens", why should they?


Well lets be frank here. Yes, other governments are worse then our own (US) government. Yes, the governments dealings generally negatively effect much less of the US population then most really realize. That all said, the United States of America is supposed to be the best, most fair, most democratic and most self governed (by the people.) This just isn't the case anymore, what with the massive amount of people we have compared to what we had when the founding fathers first drafted our governing systems, the ridiculously up and down economic situations we seem to get ourselves into (by the way this ones just as much the people's fault as the governments. If you don't believe me start spending your money better and you soon realize life isn't that hard on a low income.) and our biggest fault of all, arrogance in thinking we have it right and trying to enforce our democratic ways(that obviously aren't working.) on other people, wasting valuable money and resources we could be using for say, better education, better public transport or maybe even leveraging technology to alleviate common problems. (that's an entirely different subject I won't get into.)

In Summary, we (the American government and people to an extent) think we are better, our hubris is our downfall and we use the excuse of we aren't as bad as A to justify an act of B. Sure North Korea's government is straight up tyrannical, but we aren't the best, if we were this wouldn't be happening.


>Are they really doing this for the good of mankind or are they just trying to get attention?

They're, presumably, trying to get attention for the good of mankind. "Get attention" is literally the only [1] useful thing Anonymous is actually capable of doing, remember -- they can release documents to bring them to people's attention, make statements to influence people's opinion, etc. There is no need to inform people that the government of North Korea is corrupt, because everyone already knows it's corrupt. It'd be like informing people that oxygen is a really nice thing to breathe.

The prospect for literally "attacking" most organizations is kind of weak. Most of the corrupt governments in the world aren't very technologically advanced, so disrupting their computer systems wouldn't do much good. I'm sure Anonymous would love to go after Blackwater, I [and probably they] just have no idea how Anonymous could go after Blackwater.

[1] -- okay, not only. The alternative is interfering with military systems resp. affecting a war, but this is far more difficult, dangerous, and just generally a bad thing.

>I read somewhere that an Anonymous hacker used to fight oppressive governments in Africa. Why did he stop?

I don't think he stopped. He just isn't getting press coverage at the moment.


Would you tell someone who fights, for example, poverty in the US that he or she could instead be focusing on fighting poverty in development countries?

It's just trying to shift the blame by pointing out another problem. This doesn't make the problem at hand (growing oppression in western countries) magically go away.


> Why does Anonymous focus so much on attacking the US government when it could instead be focused on fighting the governments that are actually oppressive?

Because the US government is much easier to reform. It pays at least some lip service to freedom.


> Anonymous (...) could instead be focused on fighting the governments that are actually oppressive?

Anonymous has been involved in attacking Government websites from Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Siria, etc. Lulzsec has attacked also AlQaeda sites.


Anonymous is leftist, not libertarian. They don't actually oppose government power when it comes to taking your money.

Had they hacked the IRS or the SSA or the NYT or harvard.edu, we would see true gloves off behavior from the authorities.


The only hope for this planet is for its supposedly advanced nations to actually adhere to their foundational practices and shine a path to modern living for the rest of the world.

When these same are governed by a thinly disguised global oligarchy that increasingly looks like a forom of internationalist neo-feudalism and where these same dukes and what not invade and kill abroad in the name of the painfully obviously disregarded principles and stated ideals, we as a are going to continue to face insecurity and injustice as a systemic outcome of our duplicitous selves.


North Korea does not have an internet. Practically, they simly can not focus on North Korea with the aim of rooting up the North Koreans to revolt against their government.


>Why does Anonymous focus so much on attacking the US government (and related rich democratic countries) when it could instead be focused on fighting the governments that are actually oppressive?

I think a very large chunk of the world would tell you that the US is the most oppressive one. NK is oppressive to its own people, but the US' oppression goes far beyond its own borders.


Everyone, except the North Korean people, has easy access to information about the North Korean goverment and their missdeeds but secret infos about the US goverment or global corps doesn't get mentioned in main stream medias. And these have definately a lot more influence on all of our lifes than the Nort Korean goverment.


I see LulzSec and Anonymous more as fighting the concept of the super states as we see them today rather than a specific government in general.

By attacking the US they are attacking the instance which is most familiar / easiest / offers biggest impact, but not necessarily claiming the agency they attack is the worst in the world, ever.


I certainly agree with their Goals and I see very similar flaws in many governments. I am not sure their way is the best way to make governments listen, but it certainly is one way that gets publicity. The issue with their publicity is that news networks do not broadcast their message, they broadcast their actions which in turn intimidates and scares the less tech-savvy portion of society. This does not achieve their goals, but they make a statement. A statement is better than no statement.


I'm racking my brain to think of a way to make a government "listen." Nope, can't think of any.


yes, listening is not the strength of governments. Especially about things they do not understand and are made to fear. There are many computer privacy/copyright/net-neutrality bills that have been signed into law where I was wondering whether the people supporting the bill actually knew what it was about or its implications. We should instate a test on the content and application of each bill, if you pass you can support it and fail your vote doesnt count


Vote intelligently.


Even if your state elects the smartest senator there has ever been, he still becomes part of the massive lumbering machine. And the machine is only as smart as it's dumbest person. The US Government has so much baggage now that it's nigh impossible to make anything but superficial changes.


I agree with you, and so does Lawrence Lessig[1]. If more people got behind the cause he started called Fix Congress First[2], that might be a bit more effective than the approach of 'anonymous'. Or, perhaps, the combination of the two would be best.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Lessig#Constitutional_... [2]http://fixcongressfirst.org


What if the election mechanism has been (psychologically) engineered in a way to make real change as difficult as possible and where the only possible changes are pre-scripted like a video game to the benefit of whoever is at the top at the moment?

Your "intelligent" vote is worthless if only a small, insignificant number of people are intellectually able to vote intelligently. The hurdles for making change should be low enough to be not only theoretically, but also practically possible.


An uninformed electorate isn't helping, but I don't see how voting is going to fix this.

I'm starting to believe that the smart people just don't want to be politicians. It's a good way to become rich and famous, though.


To get elected you usually need a lot of money and to get the money you usually need to cooperate with people with bad intentions.


I thought I did, and now I'm not so sure.


I think there is room for illegal activities in the name of a free and open society. If this is truly the author's goal, however, they need to stop associating with LulzSec.

There was nothing noble about 9/10's of the crap lulzsec did, and the somewhat decent stuff they did was undercut by the whole "for the lulz" philosophy. If you really are fighting for freedom, you need to be better than DDS'ing game servers, because if you aren't the people who you are opposed to will use that shit against you. Like the FBI is doing now.

I won't shed a tear if the Lulzsec folk get put away. I will be quite upset if Lulzsec turns the public against those who would do the modern day equivalent of releasing the pentagon papers.


>If this is truly the author's goal, however, they need to stop associating with LulzSec.

In principle, I agree. The 'internet privacy' movement would be better served if the people who supported it differentiated themselves from the people who are just fucking around. I think a lot of them realize this.

The question "why don't they" has its answer in the dark catacombs of the human psyche. LulzSec and Anonymous draw a lot of their support, i.e. membership, from teenagers who want to feel like the antihero of one of today's popular bildungsroman-turned-polemic, y'know, V for Vendetta, or The Matrix, Avatar, etc. Being somewhat evil is cool, and Anonymous needs to look cool for people to want to be part of it. I'm sure the aforementioned Black Panthers lived on this for a while as well.

Some people did try to break the moral section of the movement away from the lunatic fringe; it was called Enturbulation and later WhyWeProtest, and they went after Scientology and later ACTA. Ultimately, though, WhyWeProtest slowly became irrelevant, because without a steady stream of angry people and plenty of press coverage their membership was decimated by the attrition of boredom and disillusionment. It's still around at http://whyweprotest.net/ but unlike Anonymous you've never heard of them.

I support the EFF and Wikileaks much more readily than I support Anonymous, but at the same time I figure no social change movement has succeeded without a lunatic fringe -- there were plenty of violent people fighting for India's independence, the breakup of the Soviet Union started with a coup, there were multiple violent civil rights activists in the '60s, etc.


I guess that's the anthropic answer to the "in principle I support them, but there are better ways to do what they're doing" argument: There are people out there trying all the other ways, but the lulzsec way is the one that's getting attention and results right now.


So you support the News of the World phone hacking? The only difference between them and anonymous/wikileaks/etc. is that NOTW is using it to support politics you don't like, while the others are using it to support politics you do.


This is absolutely ridiculous.

I don't agree with a lot of the things that various government organizations are allegedly doing either. However, I also understand that I probably don't have all the facts. I also know that even if I had all the facts, I would probably not commit much time to analyzing all of them, in order to make a sound decision on the best course of action. Why don't other people realize this?

We leave the economics to the economists, the physics to the physicists, and the medicine to the doctors. There are people--incompetent or not--who spend their entire lives dealing with government/country related issues. Yes, some of them might be corrupt, but are we naive enough to believe that an entire country is corrupt? Who are we to judge corruption, and what sources of information do we really have?

At one point or another, this argument for civil liberties gets repetitive and overblown. No one I know has ever felt like their freedoms were at stake, and the few government mistakes that the media captures should not be precedence to act against them. I make mistakes, you make mistakes - everyone makes mistakes. Hacking into their servers, getting people fired (and therefore replacing them with less experienced people), and leaking sensitive information so the uneducated public can get their opinions in, is -NOT- going to solve anything. At all. Ever.

Edit: Edited out a preface - wasn't aware. Sorry.


Leaving medicine to doctors is not the same as leaving politics to politicians. One has far stricter requirements than the other. Not everybody can become a doctor. But almost anybody, from teachers to movie stars, can run for politics. There's also the issue of transparency and size of influence. A malpracticing doctor affects his patients and can be sent to prison. A corrupt government affects the entire country, but it's considerably harder to send people that make laws to prison.

Getting incompetent people fired may replace them with a less experienced, but more competent person. I'd value competency over experience.

Leaking information is the only way to justify hacking into the servers. There's no point of hacking in if you're not going to allow the public to see if the government is doing any underhanded actions.


Please don't include passive grubbing for upvotes as a preface to your comments. If you have something to say, even if it's controversial, have the courage to say it plainly without projecting anxiety about karma (of all things).

It's insulting by implication to the community here that expressing a contrary but constructive and well-written opinion would get you "massively down voted." For the most part, other readers can differentiate between constructive comments they disagree with and spammers, griefers, trolls, crapflooders, and trivial one-liners.


Wasn't the intention. Edited out.


This is a dangerous way to look at the world.

For starters, people in positions of power have a long history of acting in their own best interests and not the interest of the greater good. Some decisions about our government and country have both arbitrary criteria, and arbitrary outcomes. Historically, politicians will use this ambiguity to bias towards their own interests - including resisting changes that will bring more transparency to the benefits/harms of their "sound decision on the best course of action".

Second, some domains need specialists, some need generalists. To even suggest that we should rely on specialists in all situations is simply a flawed understanding of how knowledge evolves. In particular to running a country, we happen to be at a cycle where the information we use to make very important decisions for the purpose of our national interests is evolving very rapidly. Most likely success means finding new ways to understand information vs applying proven, specialized techniques.

We are not talking about people making mistakes, we are talking about a system that has consistently produced leaders that are incapable of acting in the best interests of their constituency. Its a broken system, and Anonymous / Lulz are making history right now.. they are forcing information to the surface. Their tactics are in fact a solution - setting a precedence to our leaders that their actions will be judged in the future much more openly than they were judged in the past.

And I'll tell you, a world where the individuals in our government system must be openly accountable for the decisions they make, and how those decisions affect others is a better world for all of us. The only other path has been retold countless times in history books, and its so much worse than any disclosure of factual data.


You forgot to mention that we should leave voting to the politicians :P


I know that's meant to be satirical, but it kind of derides the examples. Economists vote mostly based on their economic views, stem-cell researchers on stem-cell related views, and low-income families on social security. I just mean, leave specialized tasks to the specialists.


I interpreted your point to be that we should leave government to the government specialists, i.e. politicians.


> We leave the economics to the economists, the physics to the physicists, and the medicine to the doctors.

But we don't really. Are economists deciding if the U.S. will default in less than two weeks?

They can't even come to a conclusion on climate change.


> They can't even come to a conclusion on climate change.

Who? Economists? Well, when the spectrum of climate change policies range from doing nothing to geo-engineering or reverting the economy to a time when there was mass poverty, disease and starvation, and given that warming predictions haven't panned out, I'm grateful economists haven't concluded anything.


Sorry, the "they" was too vague, I meant politicians. There are many in Congress that don't believe that climate change even exists. It seems that most scientists believe that it is the case though.


>At one point or another, this argument for civil liberties gets repetitive and overblown. No one I know has ever felt like their freedoms were at stake

Really? Make that one person, but there are surely more.

>Who are we to judge corruption, and what sources of information do we really have?

Who are a bunch of flawed humans to judge anything? Physics operates on a totally open system of merit. Economics as well. Doctors are directly responsible to reality. These are sciences. Government is not a science, and it is an intention of the system that the people should be able to evaluate it. From The Federalist #51:

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."

Incidentally, we do not "leave medicine to the doctors" in any realistic sense -- there are numerous byzantine legal controls on the medical profession, such as, for example, the FDA. To "leave medicine to the doctors" would be to abolish the FDA, medical malpractice litigation, patient privacy laws, etc.

>Hacking into their servers, getting people fired (and therefore replacing them with less experienced people), and leaking sensitive information so the uneducated public can get their opinions in, is -NOT- going to solve anything. At all. Ever.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers

Ultimately, experience is not a guarantee of competence or even a strong indicator in most fields, be it physics or government. Programming is a notable exception.

>I don't agree with a lot of the things that various government organizations are allegedly doing either. However, I also understand that I probably don't have all the facts. I also know that even if I had all the facts, I would probably not commit much time to analyzing all of them, in order to make a sound decision on the best course of action. Why don't other people realize this?

I realize it about you, specifically. Would you argue that because of their positions, the heads of the DEA and TSA are necessarily more competent than the vast number of medical, legal, and security experts who argue that their actions are often unnecessary and unjustified? There are people outside the government capable -- perhaps superbly so -- of analyzing the merit of government action.

It is also somewhat if not extremely naive to assume that government officials make decisions from a competent and ethical stance, and that "mistakes" are indeed a result of circumstances rather than malice or neglect. Is it naive to assume a majority of legislators are corrupt? It doesn't matter -- it is possible to look at the evidence, so assumptions are largely unnecessary. When a serious Presidential contender argues that Paul Revere rode to "warn the British", the legitimacy of government can scarcely be assumed.


>Really? Make that one person, but there are surely more.

What liberties do you feel are at stake? Do you feel oppressed - that suddenly your rights may be taken away? Could you expand? I currently have no idea why you would feel this way.

>Who are a bunch of flawed humans to judge anything? Physics operates on a totally open system of merit. Economics as well. Doctors are directly responsible to reality. These are sciences. Government is not a science, and it is an intention of the system that the people should be able to evaluate it.

Flawed humans can judge the things which we have expertise over. Business is not a science either, but in many partnerships, one trusts the opinions of the other simply because they have more experience. You're right, that government is not a science. Yet, that doesn't eliminate the possibility of experts being better versed than the majority of people who have an opinion on the matter.

>Incidentally, we do not "leave medicine to the doctors" in any realistic sense -- there are numerous byzantine legal controls on the medical profession, such as, for example, the FDA. To "leave medicine to the doctors" would be to abolish the FDA

The FDA is a regulating body, kind of like the government. Now, what if they're also corrupt? Unlike government issues, we don't (I know some do, yes) apply as much pressure on the FDA because most people realize they don't understand how complex chemicals work. Yet, they think they understand complex social initiatives because it's more 'down to earth'.

> Ultimately, experience is not a guarantee of competence or even a strong indicator in most fields, be it physics or government.

Agreed, without objection. Yet, how do we know the replacement will be more competent? If we miss that mark, it'll just be someone of the same competency (with slight deviation), without the 20 years of mistakes to learn from. I remember working with an electrical engineer, who pointed out a large amount of issues that no degree of competence could have foreseen - because he had been in the field for so long.

> I realize it about you, specifically. Would you argue that because of their positions, the heads of the DEA and TSA are necessarily more competent than the vast number of medical, legal, and security experts who argue that their actions are often unnecessary and unjustified? There are people outside the government capable -- perhaps superbly so -- of analyzing the merit of government action.

Sure, but how do we identify who is right, out of the thousands of people who are wrong? I'm not arguing that the government is perfect. I'm simply saying it might be the most practical system.


>What liberties do you feel are at stake? Do you feel oppressed - that suddenly your rights may be taken away?

Yes. Here, do you need examples?

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/07/a-pound-of-f...

>Yet, they think they understand complex social initiatives because it's more 'down to earth'.

To what precisely do you refer? Most people defer to someone who makes coherent arguments for their positions, rather than using gunpowder. The former group usually consists of experts.

If I don't have the greatest grip on airport security, that doesn't mean I can't defer to Bruce Schneier because I find his argument more coherent than John Pistole.

>Sure, but how do we identify who is right, out of the thousands of people who are wrong? I'm not arguing that the government is perfect. I'm simply saying it might be the most practical system.

In the end, the same way we choose who gets into the government in the first place -- popular opinion. This is not to say that popular opinion is always right, and in fact it is quite often wrong, but people are generally swayed by logic, and it just so happens that things which are close to the truth tend to be more convincing that utter lies. The responsibility of the government to popular opinion is the foundation of any democracy.

(Of course, I, as an individual, make judgments using logic, not popular opinion -- this much is clear -- but I am not a particularly special individual)


I was pretty angry about the above case you pointed out as well, but I do not believe it is a general descriptor for the majority of incidents. In any case, I understand the point you're making, and appreciate the clarification.

> In the end, the same way we choose who gets into the government in the first place -- popular opinion. This is not to say that popular opinion is always right, and in fact it is quite often wrong, but people are generally swayed by logic, and it just so happens that things which are close to the truth tend to be more convincing that utter lies. The responsibility of the government to popular opinion is the foundation of any democracy.

If we're using popular opinion, then I feel it'll just be government 2.0.

The point I really disagree with is: people are generally swayed by logic. That's not true. People are generally swayed by emotion - and there's a clear distinction. The best example of this is in hypnosis, where hypnotists induce a change in emotional state in order to break down barriers.

In any case, thanks for the discussion - it's made me consider some new views.


>I do not believe it is a general descriptor for the majority of incidents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_americans_1942

>it'll just be government 2.0.

Well, obviously. That's the point. Government 1.0 sucks.

>The point I really disagree with is: people are generally swayed by logic. That's not true. People are generally swayed by emotion

These are not mutually exclusive. In general, humans try to be consistent -- hence the rise of philosophy multiple independent times in multiple independent cultures.


Is this necessarily to do with giving information to the uneducated public?

Most of the public will not do anything with this information, but I will tell you who will respond: their shareholders and more dangerously their competitors.

That is where you should apply pressure.


Anonymous and Lulzsec are more like 21st century revolutionaries, on a global scale. Revolutionaries are always seen as the enemy by the Government. So it's no surprise that the US Government wants to declare war against them and wants to catch them.

If they win, then the Government changes, and the whole society changes after that. If they lose, they end up dead or in jail for whatever crimes the Government said they committed (and if there isn't a crime they can use, they'll make a new law for it like they tried with the SHIELD bill against whistleblowers)

The hacktivists aren't doing any real damage to society, and in fact they may actually end up helping it a lot, in the same way Wikileaks changed some things for the better, and they were also hunted down by Governments.

The real damage they are doing is to the people in power, and those people will fight to keep things the same and get away with their own crimes against the people they should represent.

I think we'll experience major changes in the way our democracies work by the end of this decade. For the fast times we live in, and real time information and feedback, we can only give some feedback once every 4 years, and it's usually just 2 choices: the one that has been in power, and another one. Politicians need to become a lot more accountable, and our feedback should be a lot more direct and often than once every 4 years through the voting of a party or a president.


I read "Lobby conglomerates who only follow their agenda to push the profits higher" and instantly pictured an executive somewhere rolling his eyes as he reads that.

I understand the feelings disgust with the current state of the system, and I get how in leu of an actual solution one would feel frustrated enough to act out in the ways that they have, but I stand firm in my belief that there is a better way of accomplishing the changes we/they want to see, even if nobody has figured out what that is yet.


As far as some of the more "vandalism / hax0rs having fun" type things like redirecting the Sun's homepage I mostly agree, but the documents they've acquired might cause actual damage to the people they oppose, depending on what they contain. So that portion might be effective.


The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that the end justifies the means -- to declare that the government may commit crimes -- would bring terrible retribution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO


Who writes this stuff? It comes across as silly, hyperbolic, and even melodramatic, and detracts from the actual content.

Lulz: consider this constructive criticism. Take it down a notch.


It comes across to me as a deliberate, conscious and very effective attempt at mythmaking.


Sure, I don't doubt that it's deliberate. It's not the content of the message that I'm criticizing. It's precisely that, at least to me, it's being diminished by some of the silliness in the writing. "Hello thar," "Good Sir," really? That's how we speak?

"The Anonymous bitchslap rings through your ears like hacktivism movements of the 90s."

This sentence hurts me.


All the "good sir", "hello thar", monocle stuff dates back to the SA forums, which is where 4chan originally grew out of amongst other places. It was considered funny by some, but quickly grew out of control as people with no working sense of humour took up meme-repetition as a substitute.

There was a time when you could get your account deleted for saying "good sir" on SA, it was that prevalent and annoying.

A lot of the lulzsec schtick reads like classic SA banter, I wouldn't be surprised if topiary used to post there. It could just be because of the aforementioned SA-->4chan lineage.


My minds eye always sees a '90s-era Seth Green character as the man behind the keyboard of Anonymous/LulzSec.


You're not the target audience.


This doesn't actually read to me like a LulzSec piece.


I'm (hoping) guessing a 14 year old kid with too much time on his hands


Or a 30-40 year old trying to impress, mobilize and exploit 14 year old kids with too much time on their hands.


<rant>

Let's see, "Make impassioned speech then go break into the neighbor's house and scatter his secret documents all over the lawn"

That makes a lot of sense now, doesn't it? Perhaps if you're seven. And drunk.

Aside from the validity of the charges, this manner of social justice never ever works for the people who try it. Good grief, did we learn nothing from Ghandi or MLK Jr.? There's a perfectly legitimate and effective way to denounce injustice. I think either you understand the problems with what they are doing from looking at history or you become so enamored with their cause you allow yourself to become feeble-minded.

I hate the security state that we're living in. But I hate even more people taking it on themselves to administer justice in this fashion. If you make me pick, I'm going with broken security state over anarchists every time -- and there are hundreds of millions of folks just like me. And the the thing I hate worst? Somebody taking _my_ legitimate cause and crapping all over it by doing things like this. It's an attack on freedom-loving people everywhere.

If the local prosecutor lets a murderer go free? I don't go burn the prosecutor's house down. If the local sheriff is corrupt? I don't break into his house and publish his papers in the newspaper. If the guy next door is crooked and in cahoots with the mob? I don't get to break in his house and hand out his property to the poor. In short, the minute I start deciding on my own when to break the law and disrespect other people's property rights because of a cause -- even a legitimate cause -- I become an enemy of everybody. You don't get to wave your hands around angrily pointing out how worthy your cause is and get a free pass. At least not from me.

</rant>


> Aside from the validity of the charges, this manner of social justice never ever works for the people who try it.

I dunno, the Pentagon Papers had fairly significant political effects, I think. Stealing government documents and having them published overseas to embarrass/expose the state's actions was also one of the more effective tools used by opposition groups in Eastern Europe and the USSR.

Do you really think stealing a state's documents is an attack on "freedom-loving people everywhere"? Is this always true? The Eastern-block dissents hated freedom, and damaged the cause of freedom by stealing/leaking Stasi documents?

I could certainly agree that the Stasi is much worse than the UK government, so maybe you could draw a line between a certain level of viciousness of the security state, past which document-theft becomes justified. But I don't see how you could make a blanket statement that it's never justified.

I would also make a distinction between breaking into a person's house and breaking into a government's office. Breaking into someone's home has a certain personal-threat aspect to it, and I'd consider homes to have a bit of a sacrosanct element that I wouldn't extend to state offices. So, probably not in favor of combatting a corrupt police force by breaking into the sheriff's home. But, combatting a corrupt police force by breaking into a police station and grabbing their files, as happened recently in Egypt, seems a bit different.


>In short, the minute I start deciding on my own when to break the law and disrespect other people's property rights because of a cause -- even a legitimate cause -- I become an enemy of everybody.

' [...] at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."'

Martin Luther King Jr, Letter from a Birmingham Jail -- http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.h...

If you want to argue that some of Anon's actions have been unethical, that's fair, and many people -- including some anons -- will agree with you. However, there are certainly times when breaking the law is justified in support of the rights of the people.


>"How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.

The problem with that line of thinking is that there is no universally accepted, objective standard of what defines a just and unjust law. Do we make those decisions based on Natural Law? How about on the teachings of Mohammed? Jesus? etc.

Making statements about the moral justice of a government's laws has to appeal to some higher moral standard and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of unity in that realm of the discussion. So what you consider to be a "just law" another might believe to be unjust, because their moral presuppositions are completely different.


>The problem with that line of thinking is that there is no universally accepted, objective standard of what defines a just and unjust law. Do we make those decisions based on Natural Law? How about on the teachings of Mohammed? Jesus? etc.

Everything every human does is solely their reaction to their perception. It is as possible to misperceive the law itself as it is to differ on ethical reality; this is irrelevant to the reasoning of any individual. The law is a fluid entity, created by humans, and it is obviously incomplete as evidenced by the fact that we keep modifying it. Furthermore, some notion of ethics has to exist in order to create any law at all.

There is a large body of work in the field of ethics, and it is not really unreasonable for most people to try to understand it. While many philosophers disagree on particulars or even the entire foundation, there are many common elements in the philosophy of people as different as Kant and Nietzsche.

So yes, you have to react to what you consider to be a just law, just as you have to react to what you consider to be the law -- how many people do you know who actually know the law? In practice, this does not usually lead to much difficulty, if all of the participants agree to use at least a little logic.

The best analogy I can come up with is language -- everyone speaks their own version of language (even when everyone is speaking the "same language), and if the rules are codified anywhere it is inevitably a tiny subset of the language that is actually used. Despite this, human communication has been quite successful over the past several millenia.


This is ultimately the responsibility of every person, to decide what actions are just and unjust and act accordingly. Yes, it's hard, and there is no universally accepted objective standard - but tough, you don't get a free pass anyway.

Feel free to take guidance wherever you find it - from the principles of the law itself, from your peers, your family, your elders. But consider Nuremburg, and consider the Milgram Experiment: ultimately the responsibility is yours, and cannot be shirked.


That's not what MLK is saying at all. You don't get to break any law simply because one of them is unjust. Instead, you have no moral obligation to abide by immoral laws.

If I feel like the speed limit is unjust, I should go about my business driving any speed I feel like. I do not, however, get to run over people while I'm doing it. If I feel like the law that protects my crooked neighbor's website is unjust, I have no obligation to support his privacy and private property.

I do not feel this way. I feel like my neighbor the person, corporation, or government entity uses their computer resources as an extension of their brain. As such, I frown severely on _anybody_ taking that property from them, whether through force of law or just trickery. To me you'd have a better case to have insiders physically take individual items that demonstrate and protest injustice and then publish them than this current tactic of scattering thousands of innocent user's passwords all over the web. I'm almost at the point where I consider the tactic of blanket attacks itself as being immoral. Not there yet, though.

This is an excellent reference, though. MLK disagreed with those who thought the system itself was unjust enough to declare war and make each other enemies. (I remind you of the phrase on the linked site "...These governments and corporations are our enemy....") During his life, he specifically and clearly separated himself from folks like the Black Panthers, who took this "enemy" position and look to me a lot like Anon's forefathers. MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail is probably one of 2 or 3 standard-setters in this arena. I encourage people to pursue this further.

I'm sorry I responded -- I know better. This is an emotional issue, and those of you who share my passion for freedom no doubt are going to try to beat what I've said to death. But I couldn't stand MLK's words being used in this fashion. He was making the exact opposite point. The laws he broke were unjust, not simply the ones that got in his way of creating social change.

EDIT: There is a simple unstated question that this thread brings out, though: are you an enemy of my country? (EDIT: I ask this because of the specific phraseology of the anon statement, the position of the Black Panthers, and some of the other comments, not as a means to heighten the tension.) It sounds like from reading many of the comments on the internet that some folks are -- or at least they'd like to think of themselves as such. They feel the system is so corrupt that they have made it their enemy. If that's the case, then we are enemies, and there's no more argument really needed. Kind of simplifies things up rather nicely. If not, then we should talk about practical and efficient ways to change things, because I share the view that things are off the rails and need changing.

I believe that some systems are bad but people are mostly good. That means that I respect those laws that deal with the privacy and dignity of the human being, including (for most folks) keeping their passwords and personal lives out of political battles. So email dumps and tactics like this are only going to piss me off further. Not sure if that was the intent, but that's what's they're doing.


> EDIT: There is a simple unstated question that this thread brings out, though: are you an enemy of my country?

Why are you putting this on some kind of George W. Bush paradigm? The government and the country are not the same thing.

> They feel the system is so corrupt that they have made it their enemy.

I believe that the system is corrupt but that doesn't mean I've made it my "enemy." This line of thinking leads to any criticism of the government as being "unpatriotic." That's not a good road for the country to start going down.


Two things:

First, Gandhi and MLK both benefitted from the fact that there were people prepared to be violent behind them, and they were representing a peaceful way forward as opposed to a mess and then having to give in anyways.

Second -- regarding your edit, everytime you try to break it down to a silly jingoistic binary sentiment like that, you're turning your brain off. Anonymous isn't against your country but they're very much against you being enabled to do that.


>That's not what MLK is saying at all. You don't get to break any law simply because one of them is unjust.

That wasn't what I was saying at all, either: I was responding specifically to the sentence I quoted, and I explicitly clarified this: "if you want to argue that some of Anon's actions are unethical [...]". Ancestor had seemed to support a legalist position, which is, in my opinion, a disappointingly popular ethos.

>There is a simple unstated question that this thread brings out, though: are you an enemy of my country?

The question inherent in this question: who and what, precisely, defines "my country"? I'll bet at most a tiny minority considers themself an enemy of the food system. I'm quite a fan, though there is a serious need for reform in many aspects.


But isn't the issue that what makes a law "unjust" might not be obvious when it's broken?


> Good grief, did we learn nothing from Ghandi

Civil disobedience is greater than violence? It's not like spreading information is violent..

> In short, the minute I start deciding on my own when to break the law

Ghandi and MLK broke the law, I doubt they would share your same sentiment. Sometimes disobedience is the only way. Ghandi was an anarchist, not sure if that discredits him in your eyes.


Where are you drawing the line exactly? Both Ghandi and MLK broke laws, and in many cases did so by disrespecting other people's property rights (sit ins, for one, are exactly this and often were against corporate entities as well as govt. ones).

Furthermore there was a fairly large segment of the civil rights movement that disagreed with MLK and thought the strategies he promoted would not lead to acceptance of "black culture" but instead the acceptance of blacks into "white culture" (ie: ok fine if you act and dress like us then we wont hate you). It's painfully clear that there are still massive inequalities in terms of the way people of different races are treated in the US, and I would argue MLK's limited success in getting rid of racism was at the cost of the introduction of even heavier, subtler and harder to eradicate classism (yes Obama is president, but we all remember the "is he black enough" debates).

So while I don't entirely disagree with you, let's not make it seem like there is obviously a right or wrong here, and that by simply "looking at history" we can we can see that. Usually I like your posts but this one really lacks nuance...at least it is appropriately tagged "rant."


>Good grief, did we learn nothing from Ghandi or MLK Jr.? There's a perfectly legitimate and effective way to denounce injustice.

You forgot to mention the French and American revolutions and that Ghandi and MLK had militant parallels (without which change likely would not have happened).

>But I hate even more people taking it on themselves to administer justice in this fashion.

You must also hate nearly every other successful social movement in history.

>If you make me pick, I'm going with broken security state over anarchists every time -- and there are hundreds of millions of folks just like me.

Yet you benefit from the social gains fought for by "anarchists" like the suffragettes and the labor movement.


Not that I disagree with you, but I would still like to read some good explanation why breaking into a private house is equivalent to hacking a website.


> Make impassioned speech then go break into the neighbor's house and scatter his secret documents all over the lawn

Sorry, but that's a pretty bad analogy.


« When the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is for the people and for each portion of the people the most sacred of rights and the most indispensable of duties. »

Article 35 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1793.


>If the local sheriff is corrupt? I don't break into his house and publish his papers in the newspaper.

Substituting "office" for "house," maybe you should (break in and publish his papers). Does a corrupt LEO have the "right to privacy" while e.g. putting innocent people in jail, extorting businesses, tampering with evidence, etc.? I think that the rights of those whose lives are affected by a corrupt official like this trump the rights of the official to "privacy."

tl;dr: Don't abuse your power to clandestinely fuck up other people's lives then complain about your "right to privacy" when you're exposed.


Why is this the top, this is plain wrong. The context of activism throughout history has always led to some form of change, usually for the better. The reason is simple, drama, publicity and media bring about awareness.

Get you head out of your ass, nothing you said makes any sense.


You cite MLK and Gandhi but we also have to acknowledge people like Malcolm X were effective and influential while advocating an 'any means necessary' stance.


You fail to address who exactly the neighbor is. If it is a random home, the act would be silly and garner little sympathy for the attacker.

If it was the home of the mastermind hurting half the town and some of the documents represented parts of his plan to hurt, it would seem more justified.


lulzsec and anonymous have already had effects on how companies and governments act. Who exactly acted 'peacefully' and 'within the law' so far against these companies and managed to get anything done lately?


Aside from the fact that Gandhi and MLK both broke the law which has already been pointed out, there isn't much reason to have any faith in even the highest levels of American government. If all avenues of redress have been removed or obstructed by corrupt officials, what would you propose anybody do? Let's forget for a moment that what they're up to is actually non-violent civil disobedience for a moment and pretend it is something more: so what? "Violence is never the answer" is just a ridiculous platitude. It isn't true.


"Your threats to arrest us are meaningless to us as you cannot arrest an idea." Jeez, I got goosebumps reading that. Straight out from V for Vendetta.


What are they gonna do when every govt/corporate website starts sanitizing its webapps' input and patching its network services? All they'll be able to do is DoS.

Wouldn't it be funny if the FBI & associated agencies actually worked to increase the security of the nation's networks instead of acting surprised every time they get penetrated?


>What are they gonna do when every govt/corporate website starts sanitizing its webapps' input and patching its network services?

If that actually happens as a direct result of lulzsec, I submit that they should be given some sort of medal, and their choice of pacific islands.


>What are they gonna do when every govt/corporate website starts sanitizing its webapps' input and patching its network services?

That's among their stated goals.


I have a bridge to sell you.


A significant goal of the movement is to bring to light just how insecure systems can be, and to not trust those who fail to protect. And to claim all they could do then is to DoS is the same BS write-off that you hear around here everyday, which is also disproven daily. Nothing is ever that secure.

But do you really think all this will cause govts/corporations the get more serious about security? Why now and not a decade, two decades ago?


No, sorry, that's bullshit. AntiSec is a movement against the computer security industry. They want everything to be insecure.

And it's not a write-off... they literally have no skills. Only idiots would start a campaign like the one they have and continue to shift their ideology to support whatever bullshit deface they've done now. They pick whatever low hanging fruit has a .gov, .mil or corporate presence, or take requests from twitter and hit whoever seems the funniest. It's a joke. It's Lulz.

No, I don't think it'll actually cause people to secure stuff more. Maybe if enough confidential customer information leaks the govt will finally pass another bullshit SOX-like law to try and improve things, and fail horribly. But it would be nice if it did.


they don't want things to be insecure, they want the computer security industry to stop being bullshit.

the true irony of course is that all the flailings of the antisec movement will result in is greater revenues for the same computer security industry they hate.

hacktivism isn't working.


i agree on the last two points. it's been fun, but at the end of the day the kids go to jail and the people in suits get bigger contracts.

once i was on a panel answering questions about the roles of 'malware authors' and vendors of security products (reps from M$, symantec, mcafee, etc). i was in a ski mask representing malware. what i reminded them (and everyone in the audience) was that without me, they wouldn't have a job; they need malware, black hats, etc in order to have something to sell. and if it works too well, they wouldn't be able to sell new versions of it. funny.


Can someone rehost this elsewhere like pastie.org or something? Pastebin is blocked by websense. :/


Hello thar FBI and international law authorities,

We recently stumbled across the following article with amazement and a certain amount of amusement:

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/20/138555799/fbi-arrests-alleged-...

The statements made by deputy assistant FBI director Steve Chabinsky in this article clearly seem to be directed at Anonymous and Lulz Security, and we are happy to provide you with a response.

You state:

  "We want to send a message that chaos on the Internet is unacceptable, 
  [even if] hackers can be believed to have social causes, it's entirely 
  unacceptable to break into websites and commit unlawful acts."
Now let us be clear here, Mr. Chabinsky, while we understand that you and your colleagues may find breaking into websites unacceptable, let us tell you what WE find unacceptable:

* Governments lying to their citizens and inducing fear and terror to keep them in control by dismantling their freedom piece by piece.

* Corporations aiding and conspiring with said governments while taking advantage at the same time by collecting billions of funds for federal contracts we all know they can't fulfil.

* Lobby conglomerates who only follow their agenda to push the profits higher, while at the same time being deeply involved in governments around the world with the only goal to infiltrate and corrupt them enough so the status quo will never change.

These governments and corporations are our enemy. And we will continue to fight them, with all methods we have at our disposal, and that certainly includes breaking into their websites and exposing their lies.

We are not scared any more. Your threats to arrest us are meaningless to us as you cannot arrest an idea. Any attempt to do so will make your citizens more angry until they will roar in one gigantic choir. It is our mission to help these people and there is nothing - absolutely nothing - you can possibly to do make us stop.

  "The Internet has become so important to so many people that we have to 
  ensure that the World Wide Web does not become the Wild Wild West."
Let me ask you, good sir, when was the Internet not the Wild Wild West? Do you really believe you were in control of it at any point? You were not.

That does not mean that everyone behaves like an outlaw. You see, most people do not behave like bandits if they have no reason to. We become bandits on the Internet because you have forced our hand. The Anonymous bitchslap rings through your ears like hacktivism movements of the 90s. We're back - and we're not going anywhere. Expect us.


Thanks


"These governments and corporations are our enemy."

They are douches, plain and simple.


Reminds me of the hacker's manifesto, but a lot less eloquent.


I find the idea of a bunch of 4chan, excuse me, "newfags" and "oldfags" frakking around the internet "for the lulz" and/or "shits and giggles" a lot more friendly and support-worthy than the same people rolling out a huge Robin-Hood/"the abused Davids striking back against Goliath Corps" banner and all in the name of "true justice" and "freedom".

I miss the "wild wild west" internet a lot but the last thing we need is yet another entity pushing its interests onto the web.

Hack and deface and publish, by all means, for great lulz! You are a lot more unique, random, loveable and (actually) useful that way.


Not to mention it is hard to make a personal fortune doing it. Many Robin Hood-type figures around the world continue to rake in millions at the expense of the poor people they claim to rep. And yet, as a member of Lulz or Anon, the most you may gain is appreciation for your skill IF you put it on your resume. It would also get you arrested, effectively striking out one of the few ways to make a personal gain from this.


I'm sure most of the people here missed the fact that this is a wake-up call. its meant to make people THINK long and hard about the real issues at hand.

I don't know about you, but I'm seeing a lot of critical thinking going on. It's this reason I support these groups.


I see the exact opposite. I see a call to stop thinking and align yourself with an ideology. e.g,

"Your threats to arrest us are meaningless to us as you cannot arrest an idea. Any attempt to do so will make your citizens more angry until they will roar in one gigantic choir."

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_true_believer


You have to do that in any case. Some prefer the ideology of "status quo at all costs".


You have to do what in any case? Stop thinking for yourself? I disagree.


Fairly well phrased, although the arguments against 'corporations' and 'conglomerates' are fairly unsubstantial. (in the pastebin, that is, IRL is a different matter)


A trite leftist screed ripped straight from the Bush years.


I wonder if they'll ever understand the people they're trying to protect are actually the victims in their actions.

They hack Sony. Sony loses millions. How do you think they're going to recapture their loses? By passing the loss onto consumers. Increased prices for TV's, games, anything Sony makes is going to increase in price to recoup their loses.

Clearly they haven't thought this all the way through.


Oh come on. People said the same damn thing about every activist in history.

"Don't anger Sony because they'll only make prices higher for everybody!" Yes. Their costs will be higher, so economically they'll either take less profit or have higher prices. Then they will be at a disadvantage in the marketplace. At some point the cold equations of economics will dictate that they either change their ways or die.


It has nothing to do with activist history - this how economics works. What happened to the price of gas when there was a disaster in the gulf of Mexico? Oh yeah, gas prices went up and up and up. Who really paid for the disaster? BP or us the consumer?

It's not like one day their TV's are $300, and then overnight they're $1000. All they have to do is edge the price up moderately over time to make back their losses. But in the end, the result is the same. The loss and increased cost is passed on to the consumer.

Also, when you're talking two or three dollar differences in prices compared to other companies. Sony owns a large portion of the gaming industry. It's not like there's 10 console makers. Choice is limited, so your point about "cold equations of economics" unfortunately doesn't hold true in this case.

My point stands - when large corporations lose money, it's normal for businesses to pass the loss of revenue onto consumers.


Well, and I say this in the nicest possible way, no shit. Yes. Of course they do. What else can they do? Is the answer then never to worry an executive, or should it be to speak to them in the only language that can ever reach a corporation: make it less profitable for them to act like assholes?

The cost of assholery at the corporations is also passed on to the consumer - and everybody else on the planet - it may simply not be in absolute dollars and cents in purchase price. But we all end up paying.

Incidentally, gas prices have nothing to do with the disaster in the Gulf, and everything to do with (1) what the market will bear, (2) increased consumption in BRIC nations, and (3) profit-taking and commodity games. The oil companies, including BP, have made more money in the past year than they ever have. So they're not passing the price of disaster on; they're simply taking whatever they can grab because they know nobody is ever going to try to worry a corporation for fear they might not hire somebody. Like they will anyway.

Gah. Probably too much grar here. I'm going to go lie down.


Only of you believe myriad of attacks such as the Boston Tea Party were not well thought out.

In the short-term, they may have a negative impact on the general population. But the goal by many such actions is very longterm and seemingly worth the temporary raise in price etc. in the eyes of the protestors.


Why do they get to decide what's a good tradeoff for the general population?


They don't, which is why they are often arrested.

They are given permission by society retroactively after the events have transpired and the ends justify the means.

And when they are not given permission because they could not justify the actions, they are further punished just as any unlawful person would be.


Why did Boston Tea Partiests? I'm sure there were plenty of cowards like yourself complaining about upsetting the King.


If Sony's prizes rise, other companies will sell more TV's. The market for TV's is a decent one as far as I know.


Clearly you have not thought through the idea that you simply don't need to buy any of that crap.

I submit you don't actually need to buy anything that Sony makes.


Buy a different brand. It's not like Sony is the only company producing tvs.


So if the Montgomery public transit system went down in 1955, it was the protestors' fault?


What would you suggest then? There is no way to hurt the powerful without effecting the powerless. Should nothing ever be done then? If we followed that line of "reason" we'd still be the property of Kings.


I fail to see how forcing Sony to raise their prices or take less in profits doesn't achieve their goals? It isn't like you're forced to buy only Sony's already over-priced and poorly-built shit.


What were the goals?


Lash out at Sony for prosecuting GeoHot, right?


I really do not understand why they cannot find someone to write for them who understands English grammatical rules. All I can think of when I'm reading that document are some troublemakers trying to justify malicious attacks. If they could write a decent press release, it might actually convince people that they are trying to do some some good in the world.


How do we know this is for legit?


Linked from Lulzsec's and AnonymousIRC's twitters which are held by respective members of the groups.


How do we know Lulzsec's and AnonymousIRC's twitters are legit?


anonymousIRC and Lulzsec both tweeted it


These kids have become the subject of their own joke. But it's funny watching them and reading them on twitter though


This is why we can't have nice things online.




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