Tag Archives: NSA

Anonymous: Terrorists or Robin Hood?

I’ll start this post with an aside: some may even consider Robin Hood to be a terrorist.  Have there been any retellings of Robin Hood from that perspective?  Please point me to any such efforts.

Alexis Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) asks in The Atlantic. “Who Do You Trust Less: The NSA or Anonymous?” prompted by the vague accusation by the director of the NSA that Anonymous would soon have the capability “to bring about a limited power outage through a cyberattack.”

He didn’t say that they had the intent, just that they’d soon have the knowledge.  This is to accuse the general public of having the knowledge of how to make a fertilizer bomb, rent a truck, and park it next to a federal building.  If they soon have this ability, it’s a failure on our security systems, not of them for obtaining knowledge.

To not be subtle about it, I am against any part of our government demonizing Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) as a terrorist group.  I personally think what they (mostly) do is somewhere between digital graffiti and non-violent protest, sometimes venturing into whistle-blowing crusader territory.  Their biggest fault I would describe as political or social altruism.

I agree with alexis that labeling them as stateless is an attempt to paint them with the broad brush the NSA and other US governmental bodies use to demonize al Qaeda.

To clarify, i don’t mind the government keeping tabs on them (legally), tracking their activity or membership (if/where possible), or prosecuting them for breaking the law (civil disobedience should expect prosecution – if we need to change the law, that’s another issue).

Farming fear is a good way to steer policy in the direction you want (and how we got into the Iraq War).  I want those officials who are my direct employees, those whose ballot I will touch, to please use several grains of salt when weighing opinions from our “intelligence” community.  Don’t be bullied to their opinion because you’re not computer technology savvy, or “Cyber” is a scary word, or “stateless” slowly taints your view on a group.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Pres. Barack Obama, I’m talking to you.  We have much bigger fish to fry.  Sowing peace and diplomacy takes more effort than demonizing and warmongering.  (As your constituent, and a Computer Scientist, i want you to now my opinion.)

I will end there and briefly echo Alexis conclusion: “One doesn’t have to support Anonymous’ methods, goals, or aesthetics to worry about the US response to them in the intelligence community.”

[Note: sent to each of the elected officials mentioned above - find yours (in Texas) with Who Represents Me?]