UPDATE (08/14/14 3:37 PM EST): So Anonymous attempted to carry through with their plan to doxx the police officers allegedly involved with the Michael Brown shooting, but the St. Louis PD came back with this Twitter post:
Turns out the person named is only a dispatcher, not a police officer. Whoops. Now Anonymous’ Twitter feed has been shut down. Not to worry though, they’ve got other accounts because … they’re mysterious.
The digital realm is made up a lot like Hollywood’s version of the Old West: there are the lawless bad guys (black hats) and the so-called “white knight” good guys who adhere to a code of morality and justice for all (white hats). The hacktivist group Anonymous has long frittered between these two realms. Both NMR and this reporter have been hassled in some capacity by members of the legion in some capacity — as have many who’ve reported negatively on their actions. But increasingly, their demands have put them in the unusual position of being the good guys.
Having just released a video demanding accountability for 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed teen who was shot and left for dead in the streets of Ferguson, MO by local police, Anonymous is now campaigning for social change. It is a move that puts them in the role of an online ACLU — so could legitimacy be the end result of a shadow group once viewed by many as a terrorist organization?
Sure, Anonymous still uses questionable tactics to achieve its means: the video they released on YouTube (above) promises that if justice isn’t sought for Brown in the form of a law that makes stricter conditions for police operations, they will expose the personal information of everyone they deem involved.
Okay, so Anonymous isn’t exactly Doctors Without Borders yet — but between this and the Aaron Swartz initiative, it sure seems like a step in the right direction. Now if we could just do something about their silly masks …