Just finished reading a fascinating article by Quinn Norton, writing for Threat Level. It tells the tale of Hector Xavier Monsegur, known to Anonymous as Sabu. He was arrested by the FBI and then used to gather information on his colleagues in the hacker community.
The article provide a pretty thorough history of Anonymous. And I found fascinating the story of Anonymous’ evolution from basically a disorganized mob into an amorphous collective with political sensibilities. Anonymous’ battle with the Church of Scientology seems to have provided enough of a consensus of outrage to embolden a critical mass of members to undertake direct and overt political action, and thereby create a political consciousness for the group. It also appears that this critical mass is still at work.
I also found fascinating the article’s discussion of Anonymous’ command and control structures: to wit, there are none. Norton describes the decentralized and uncontrolled activities and actions taken by Anonymous as “do-ocracies.” Norton also cites Wikipedia and Linux as examples of do-ocracy, but those examples are neither overtly political nor germane to TDGP. I found the term interesting enough to add a glossary page to this blog so that informative and interesting terminology can be remembered and easily accessed.
The article covers much of the same ground that Brian Knappenberger covered in his film, however, it does cover more recent history. An excellent read, the article is also a cautionary tale. Anonymous is leaderless, skilled, dangerous, partially (perhaps mostly) random, and possesses a political consciousness that seems to hold centralized power in contempt. It is the type of organization that will justifiably strike fear into any hierarchal organizations. Anonymous and groups like it will be targets of the status quo as long question the wisdom and power of centralized authority.