The Reach and Effects of Hacktivisim

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

This weekend, the group Anonymous released the below video as part of its penetration of the United States Sentencing Commission’s web site.

The video appears to be a response not only to the death of Aaron Swartz, but also a larger reaction against a criminal justice system that the group views as out of control and generally exceeding its authority.

The narrative of the video reveals the start of “Operation Last Resort,” which is described as a large cache of government data taken from online sources and mirrored to sites around the world. If significant government reform is not undertaken, the keys to the data will be released and the information the documents contain will be revealed.

To avoid that outcome, the group asks for a number of specific reforms, including:

  • Legislative reform to make sentencing more proportional to the crime, and for sentencing procedures to include a more thorough analysis of the offense and the offender.
  • More parity in plea bargaining, such that defendants do not feel compelled to bargain away their plea out of fear of serving a disproportionately long period of incarceration.
  • The consistent application of laws, as opposed to “making an example” of those the government deems to be a threat to its power.
  • Maintenance of freedom of information on the internet for the common good.

To me, the video and its message is quite fascinating. I’m curious about other’s responses to it, including opinions on the effectiveness of this approach.  What are your thoughts?

Update: In an article this past Friday, ZDNet reported that Anonymous released additional documents that demonstrate their access, and the FBI has now opened a criminal investigation in response. There are also some references to the recent Dorner case, including a URL file by the title “dorner-is-a-symptom-not-the-syndrome” in another apparent Anonymous hack of the Grand Banks Yachts company website.

The United States Sentencing Commission web site is also still down (there’s an “Under Construction” message posted).

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