More on Anonymous
March 19, 2008
As a quick follow-up to Antisocialite’s post about Anonymous vs. Scientology (he tells me part 2 is coming soon), this brief over at Global Guerrillas summarizes Project Chanology in the context of an open source insurgency. Even more interesting, however, is this reply from a member of Anonymous:
Firstly, Anonymous is an example of viral organisation – there is no centralised leadership, and although there are nodes of organisation, these are dynamic – if one goes down or is taken down, others compensate with little damage done to the utility of the network as a whole. Organisation and decisions are made through what I would term “viral consensus” – the facts, questions and opinions are disseminated throughout the network by it’s users, the most successful or popular of these possible courses of action are therefore repeated more often and gain traction – mutations to the idea occur and those that are popular flourish. As such, there are no leaders to attack – whilst there may be some individuals who are more visible (such as Mark Bunker) they are not essential-, no easily-accisble points of failure. Indeed, the only thing that would severely disrupt the insurgency as a whole is internal factional problems – which are near-impossible for an outsider to predict or cause due to the shibboleths John mentions; or a total disruption of the internet as a whole.
Secondly, the initial campaign of DDOS and internet insurgency can be seen as an example of the internet as an enabling force – most members of anonymous are not hackers or computer security experts, but the information available on how to conduct operations such as DDOS attacks etc is readily available on the internet, and can be spread concisely and practically throughout the group itself through other networking tools (IRC, message boards, forums, p2p). However, the interesting thing in particular about the methodology of anonymous is that it is intensely adaptable – when the opinions of Mark Bunker that the illegal aspects of anonymous actions (DDOS etc) were tactically efficient but strategically detrimental entered the viral consciousness, the methodology drastically changed – to real life protests organised over a number of countries, and to information dissemination tactics aimed at the public.