Boing Boing 

Alan Moore talks V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes masks


The Guardian catches up with Alan Moore, writer of V for Vendetta and noted grumpy, uncompromising debullshitificator, and asks how he feels about the Guy Fawkes mask from his comic becoming a symbol of Anonymous and Occupy protests.

"I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn't it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It's peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction..."

Moore first noticed the masks being worn by members of the Anonymous group, "bothering Scientologists halfway down Tottenham Court Road" in 2008. It was a demonstration by the online collective against alleged attempts to censor a YouTube video. "I could see the sense of wearing a mask when you were going up against a notoriously litigious outfit like the Church of Scientology."

But with the mask's growing popularity, Moore has come to see its appeal as about something more than identity-shielding. "It turns protests into performances. The mask is very operatic; it creates a sense of romance and drama. I mean, protesting, protest marches, they can be very demanding, very gruelling. They can be quite dismal. They're things that have to be done, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're tremendously enjoyable – whereas actually, they should be..."

"I find it comical, watching Time Warner try to walk this precarious tightrope." Through contacts in the comics industry, he explains, he has heard that boosted sales of the masks have become a troubling issue for the company. "It's a bit embarrassing to be a corporation that seems to be profiting from an anti-corporate protest. It's not really anything that they want to be associated with. And yet they really don't like turning down money – it goes against all of their instincts." Moore chuckles. "I find it more funny than irksome."

Alan Moore – meet the man behind the protest mask

(Image: Anonymous at Scientology in Los Angeles, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from sklathill's photostream)

Anonymous Finland: 10% of Finnish email accounts nationwide compromised

"Anonymous Finland" claims it has compromised the email logins and passwords of 500,000 Finns -- about ten percent of the country's population.

Among the hacked emails are allegedly accounts belonging to journalists at Finland's mainstream daily Helsingin Sanomat, members of the Finnish parliament, police officials, Helsinki city councillors and students and faculties at several of the country's universities.

The hackers said they had taken advantage of security loopholes in company computer systems storing email addresses and passwords.

Anonymous Finland has also launched a campaign against the rightwing extremist Finnish Resistance Movement, leaking a list of its membership applications on October 31.

And on Monday, the group announced it was launching a series of cyber attacks against Finnish mining company Talvivaara, alleging its mining activities in Sotkamo in eastern Finland are conducted to "the detriment of the local natural environment and people of the communities".

Finland facing large-scale hacking attacks: police

Guy Fawkes OWS bandanas


Matthew Borgatti is taking pre-orders for this saucy OWS Guy Fawkes bandanna, which has many useful features:

Fold this bandana in half to transform into the famous fawksy provocateur from the comic pages. It's perfect for protecting yourself from sudden dust storms and outbreaks of authoritarianism. Keep your neck warm during those cold sit-ins. Use it as an impromptu rucksack to cart your gear from Zuccotti Park when the cleaners come. Cut eye holes to wear as a full face mask for added anonymity. Flag Fawkes. This is the hanky code for revolution.

*For every bandana ordered one will be sent to one of the Occupy branches worldwide. Double your effect and increase the anonymity!*

OWS Bandanna (via JWZ)

Anonymous vs. Zetas: is #OpCartel a flop, hoax, or honeypot?

[Video Link] Over the last few days, word has spread of a purported #antisec operation by Anonymous against the most brutal of all Mexican drug cartels, Los Zetas. One element in the story is this video, above. Weeks after it came out, George Friedman's Austin Texas-based consulting firm Stratfor issued this report, and media gobbled it up. A story was born: "Anonymous is taking on the most feared drug cartel in the world, for great justice."

What was unusual about the way this story spread was the speed at which it was amplified by credulous reports from larger media outlets, despite a dearth of confirmable facts. This op got lots of press, fast. Faster, in fact, than it got support from Anons.

Geraldine Juarez and Renata Avila were two of the earlier voices I read expressing doubt about the prevailing storyline—a report by Juarez is here. Some I spoke to within Mexico wondered if the Mexican government (no bastion of purity) might be involved.

Over at Wired News, a must-read piece by Quinn Norton that cinches the deal for me (and in it, she references the aforementioned Global Voices item). Quinn's been covering Anonymous extensively for some time, and I trust her spidey sense on this one.

Read the rest

Nuanced view of the once and future Anonymous

Biella Coleman and Michael Ralph write a long, nuanced rebuttal of Joseph Menn's recent FT article on Anonymous. Coleman, an academic who has done some fabulous work studying hackers, Anonymous and other 21st century anthropological phenomena, is the person I trust most to produce clear accounts of Anon, 4chan, and related subjects.

These hacks may also, as Menn notes, have unintended and far reaching consequences for all of us. As Menn notes, "Even some supporters worry that if the group continues on its current path, it could trigger a legislative backlash that would bring heightened monitoring at the expense of the privacy that Anonymous prizes." Still, it is crucial that we consider the broader historical perspective. This sort of "legislative backlash" has been in the works at least since 2001, with the Patriot Act, spurred by the terrorist attacks against the Twin Towers. And since that time, there have been many attempts to legislate acts that curtail privacy in the stipulated attempt to make the nation more secure. These legal developments have clearly not simply been instituted in the last year in response to hacks. No doubt, the hacking actions of Anonymous can be used to move legislative proposals into law more rapidly, but portrayals of nefarious hacker criminals also inflames fears about privacy that are long on emotion and short on substance.

Anon hackers are "criminals" in so far as any hacker has inevitably broken a host of laws; some individuals involved may also have a criminal history. And yet most hackers either implicitly or explicitly have critiques of the laws they are willing to transgress. Thus, the analyst must provide some account of the way that a given law can be conceived as either fulfilling or failing to fulfill the dual investment in freedom and security that defines life in the US polity at any given juncture and why hackers seek to trouble this distinction.

To make matters even more complicated, the work of some of the hackers in Anonymous includes modes of duplicity that some Anons self-consciously deploy; in transgressive hacker circles, these tactics include social engineering: the practice of duping humans for the purposes of gaining information or for spreading misinformation. Used by Anons, to various degrees, offensively and defensively, these forms of subterfuge raise a host of important questions about how to research, represent, and grapple with the significance of the politics of hacking, especially where a clandestine operation like Anonymous is concerned.

(Thanks, Biella!)

(Image: Anonymous Declaration of IndepenDance. Wallpaper (3923x4656), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from thinkanonymous's photostream)

Mandatory "agreement" for Playstation Network users waives your right to class actions over future hacks

The next time you log into your Sony Playstation Network account, the company is going to ask you to click through a EULA whereby you promise not to sue them in a class action if they get hacked again, even if they're negligent, and even if you get screwed over as a result. If you don't agree, no more PSN for you. (Thanks, @sickkid1972!)

Court orders Non-anonymous possible Anonymous to stop using real name

It's the headline of the zeitgeisty moment: "A guy accused of being Anonymous, but who used his real name online, can now no longer use his real name... because he may have been a part of Anonymous." The law, she is a strange and capricious mistress. (Thanks, Sulka!)

Syrian ministry hacked

The website of Syria's Ministry of Defense, now down, briefly displayed this message today:

To the Syrian people: The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side – tyrants use violence because they have nothing else, and the more violent they are, the more fragile they become. We salute your determination to be non-violent in the face of the regime’s brutality, and admire your willingness to pursue justice, not mere revenge. All tyrants will fall, and thanks to your bravery Bashar Al-Assad is next.

To the Syrian military: You are responsible for protecting the Syrian people, and anyone who orders you to kill women, children, and the elderly deserves to be tried for treason. No outside enemy could do as much damage to Syria as Bashar Al-Assad has done. Defend your country – rise up against the regime! – Anonymous