Anonymous fights for freedom of speech

By Isabella Bailey
On September 21, 2011

On Aug. 9, the Internet terrorist group Anonymous sent out a press release describing plans to take down Facebook on Nov. 5.

Anonymous is a widespread online community of multiple users operating as "an anarchic, leaderless group of mostly young and tech-savvy activists," as Chris Landers of the Baltimore City Paper described. Collectively, the group has hacked the Iranian government's websites in response to the 2009 election protests, attacked News Corp for its hacking ways, and launched cyber-attacks on the Pentagon.

In Anon's press release, they stated, "Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world." Of course, Anonymous is not completely right in the way of the law, but they are trying to open the public's eyes to what these websites and media giants are doing. These companies need to understand that they cannot get away with ignoring users' liberties. What does this mean for the social media giant? Probably a large scale DDoS attack in attempts to make the site inaccessible for at least 24 hours. DDoS, or distributed denial-of-service attack, is an umbrella term for attacks that cause extreme congestion of computer networks and eat up bandwidth. What does this mean for members of the Facebook communities? Probably all the private information stored on the Facebook servers will either be made public, similar to the WikiLeaks fiasco in July 2010, or be completely destroyed - depending on what Anonymous plans to do with the information that will be leaked.

Anonymous is angry. They are angry because Facebook intentionally changes privacy policies without notifying users, then all information becomes public before users can change their privacy settings. The insulting part is Facebook never told anyone about the changes, which began in May of 2010 and were immediately discovered by media sources like the New York Times, Huffington Post and Businessweek.

The question buzzing across the Web is, "What gives Anonymous the right to take down this social media site?" Many organizations use Facebook to spread the word about upcoming events and causes generated across the world.

This may be an extreme argument for freedom of speech, but Anonymous is leading the Internet revolution against "Big Brother" and the invasive governments of today. As Thomas Jefferson once said, "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

As stated in Anon's press release, "This is our world now. We exist without nationality, without religious bias. We have the right to not be surveilled, not be stalked, and not be used for profit. We have the right to not live as slaves." No one knows what is really going to happen come Nov. 5. What we do know, is Anonymous is ready for it.

As Anon also says, "The Internet is serious business."

Isabella Bailey is a senior majoring in technical writing and information technology.

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