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Sony and Anonymous

This video was posted a week ago, expressing a grand plan to hack Sony in opposition to its support of SOPA. Since then, the reaction from the public and the media has demonstrated large-scale cluelessness (read the video’s comments for a taste).

“Anonymous” is a name that can be used by anyone on the internet. When “Anonymous” does something, what that actually means is that one or more people using the name did that thing on behalf of everyone who identifies as “Anonymous”.

A statement like “Anonymous will hack Sony” is not a warning to Sony. It’s a request made to other people identifying with the name. So, “Anonymous will hack you” really means “hey, somebody should hack these guys, does anybody feel like doing it?”. Likewise, “Anonymous will boycott Sony for reasons xyz” is effectively saying “let’s boycott Sony, here’s why they deserve it”. The fact that the media scrambles to publicize anything anybody says under the name Anonymous plays directly into their hands.

If enough capable people feel like doing it, then it gets done. If not, it doesn’t. So no, Anonymous does not make promises, nor does it go back on them. Statements like “Anonymous never does anything” demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of how the system works. If you’re mocking Anonymous for “attacking the wrong people” then you are way off-base. That video was released by a single person. If people don’t feel that Justin Bieber deserves to be attacked, then he won’t be. If they do, then to be honest, he probably does.

The point of hacking something like the PlayStation network is to make these complex issues directly relevant to the everyday lives of a large demographic. A convenient side effect of hurting the users’ experience is that it can cost Sony financially, but that was never the primary goal. The goal is to draw attention to the unethical behaviour of this company, for its support of SOPA, its obsession with drowning all of its products in DRMs, or anything else that could be considered harmful.

Sony is already on the lengthy list of corporations that I’m not going to fund. In that sense, I myself am participating in a Sony boycott (though as a pretentious indie).

And could somebody tell me who the fuck Kim Kardashian is?

Written by Likes to Ramble

2 Comments

  1. Mike · January 4, 2012

    Cool. My grandmother had a clothesline too!

  2. Face Stabbity · January 4, 2012

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding it, but isn’t Anonymous a large collective of hackers that releases these threats when they’ve agreed to go through with their threat? I understand that people probably do stuff like this under the guise of Anon when they aren’t actually affiliated, but I don’t think saying that threatening a hack by Anonymous is the equivalent of the Bat signal (my words, of course) is accurate.

    And Kim Kardashian a curvy woman who comes from a very wealthy family that has their own abomination of a reality show. She’s also famous for being an idiot and having a clothing line.

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