When Anonymous goes too far

On December 9th, one of the agents of Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) tweeted the following.

Anonymous (@YourAnonNews)
12/9/11 9:29 PM
Hating on American Muslims? Don’t you have anything better to do? @Lowes Expect us!

The original tweet is available here.

The matter involved a recent decision by the hardware box store chain, Lowe’s, to cancel advertising scheduled to air during one of TLC’s “reality” shows, called All-American Muslim.  Apparently, this move was the result of pressure exerted in part by groups like the Florida Family Association.

Let’s set aside the absurd premise of the TLC show.  Let’s also set aside the clearly paranoid delusions of the Florida Family nuthouse.

I’m a little troubled by the tone of Anonymous’s tweet, which clearly associates Lowe’s actions with “hate” against Muslims.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think Anonymous is serving a vital social function by providing people with an alternate perspective free of virtually all the shackles with which society has hindered itself.  I think any rational person will be made to think more carefully of their role in society – and, perhaps more importantly, the role of certain institutions – by reflecting on what Anonymous is about.  They tend to “attack” defence contractors, tend to support other organizations dedicated to openness (like Wikileaks), and have worked to shut down child porn sites.  Anonymous isn’t a terrorist group; they’re clearly directed in their work, and, generally, they attempt to undermine organizations that have been seen as corrupt in one way or another.

Now, they’re picking on Lowe’s for pulling advertising?  What about the other companies that have pulled their ads?  (20-ish or 60-ish other companies – depending on who you read – have also pulled their ads from that show.)  What’s Lowe’s done that merits such special attention?

And is it really “hate” to pull the advertising?  Clearly, groups like the Florida Family freaks are islamophobic shit-disturbers of the first order.  It is not at all clear that Lowe’s isn’t just capitulating to that pressure rather than espousing the position.

Why isn’t Anonymous going after the Florida Family Association?  Clearly, the latter is a bunch of right-wing nut jobs that really deserve whatever Anonymous can dish out.

While I can understand the approach taken by Anonymous generally, I’m seriously concerned that without a little more direction, they may end up doing something entirely unacceptable – which would undermine entirely the power that the organization currently holds in the public psyche, and would likely give ultimate victory to the very organizations that Anonymous seems intent on disturbing.


4 thoughts on “When Anonymous goes too far

  1. Oh man… they hold power in public psyche? I, who am into web development and other techie stuff, couldn’t care less about Anonymous, or what they do, and you can probably imagine the rest of the world that isn’t into tech things. They couldn’t care less about things those guys do.

    Internet privacy? Lot’s of people gave that thing away when signing into social network and started sharing their photos on the net. I’m not affraid that someone is reading my mail. In fact, I couldn’t care less. Only an idiot would hold important stuff up on the net. If there’s failure within service provider you’re left with nothing. Many companies know that, so they have internal private servers etc…

    If you’re not downloading anything illegal, no one can do a sh*t to you. Never the less, if “they” want to, you can get framed any time.

    Very thing this Anonymous fight to protect (Internet privacy), are helping child pornographers (whose sites they help bring down) to stay anonymous. What are they trying to be? A superman? A real bad-ass doesn’t need a mask to hide behind, take a look at Assange.

    If you know how to hack, you’ll find the way to cheat the system, if you’re regular user with some ethics none will do anything to you. If you go to child porn sites or downloading illegal software… what the f** are you crying about. Either put up or shut up.

    This was rant on free the internet thing. Not on this post, sorry :).

    Btw. If someone says: They wan’t to expose big companies etc.. if they want to expose anything, someone has to stand behind the proof, otherwise they won’t be able to do anything. Just randomly killing some sites and small fishes is not the way to go. Go to the root of the problem.

  2. Jinxed, I largely agree with you. I think privacy is no where near the wholesome and rationally necessary thing that people think it is.

    I have this rather controversial line: Privacy is a dark shadow in which unscrupulous people can safely go about their business.

    Privacy seems to be more & more necessary because people trust less and less in others. There’s lots of reasons for this, but one big one is that we’ve been gradually eliminating all consequences for one’s actions. I’m not talking about being cruel. I’m talking about being just. We all learn from our mistakes, but too many people see mistakes as some kind of indicator of moral poverty. I see mistakes as the single best indicator that we’re actually alive. Go figure.

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