We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by The Wrong Guy, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Anonymous Member

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  2. Anonymous Member

    DOSE: Legion Story Hacktivists/7554841/story.html

    Those of us who don't know a lot about 4chan and DDos-ing and all the other touchstones of cyberlife will be happy to know that hackers who want to fight against power still turn to an age-old prank: they order pizza.

    Sending pizza to people who don't want it -- and sometimes covertly watching from behind the drapes as it's delivered -- has been a technique of harassment since the days of rotary telephones.

    It's still part of the arsenal of Anonymous, the worldwide group of loosely connected pranksters ("the rude boys of activism," they're called in the documentary We Are Legion, as well as "the final boss of the Internet") who are at the vanguard of a new kind of social activism.

    Anonymous is famous for their DDos (that's Denial of Service) of PayPal when the company withdrew its services from WikiLeaks, an organization Anonymous approves of. The many computer hackers who call themselves Anonymous -- and wear the Guy Fawkes masks from the movie V for Vendetta, a face that has become symbolic of mass protest -- overwhelmed PayPal's computers until they crashed.

    They also went to war against the Church of Scientology because it dared to pull down a video of Tom Cruise bragging about the powers of its members, a video that fit right into the Anonymous culture, i.e., they made fun of it. They take some credit for the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, where they helped keep the Internet going when despotic regimes tried to close them. They helped overthrow right wing radio host Hal Turner.

    They did it through hacking and marching -- thousands stood outside Scientology buildings around the world, chanting, "Don't drink the Kool-Aid" and "Brainwashed" -- and, in several cases, by ordering pizzas to be delivered to people's houses. You get the feeling that if they could have soaped people's windows on a website, they would have done that as well.

    We Are Legion is an encyclopedic history of the movement that began -- in spirit anyway -- with a bunch of MIT students putting cars on the roofs of buildings and has become a formidable force for ... well, it's hard to say what exactly. Freedom of speech certainly, political justice sometimes, or just cruel fun occasionally. When Anonymous found its political muscle in the Middle East and in assisting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a spinoff group ("stop ruining our bad name") did things like hacking into an epilepsy website with flashing images that would cause seizures.

    That's one of the few negative notes found by filmmaker Brian Knappenberger, who traces Anonymous from anything-goes websites like 4chan and /b/board -- where photos ranging from cute cats to perverse sexual acts provide an illuminating window into the human psyche -- to the more serious ends of Anonymous. The Cruise video helped galvanize them into a "Declaration of War" that stated, "We are Anonymous. We are legion."

    It became a sort of electronic arm of the Occupy movement, a loosely connected group of people that, according to the film, include many attractive young women as well as the expected collection of 23-year-old men living in their parents' basements. Someone says a lot of them had sex for the first time thanks to their Anonymous activities.

    The connections, not to mention the technologies, are sometimes confounding, but We Are Legion keeps them mostly straight. It places the Anonymous movement in the context of traditional political protest: overwhelming an objectionable website is compared to sitting in a segregated lunch counter in Alabama, denying service to others. And if that doesn't work, order the pepperoni.
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  3. Anonymous Member

  4. Anonymous Member

    That's not fair! We also turned that around and invented Protest Pizza.
  5. Anonymous Member

    fyi : ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((( it was moar Trolling than hacking )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
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  6. Anonymous Member

  7. Anonymous Member

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  8. Anonymous Member

  9. muldrake Member

    Doing it for teh lulz old skool.
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  10. Anonymous Member

  11. Woody68 Member

    I Am Bradley Manning - by Petite Pointer

    Please help this to go viral as the producer is using it as part of her cinematography course - so lets just hope a Repug isn't assessing the course...

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  12. Woody68 Member

    (n00b) Sorry :)
  13. Anonymous Member

    SF Weekly:

    Future anthropologists might describe the first 10 years of widespread Internet use as a decade defined by the embarrassment of coming to terms with a new mass technology. Because embarrassed is how even the adventurous could sometimes feel: Am I doing it right? Are you sitting in your basement trolling for fun? Nerd. Are you green enough to be offended by a little trolling? Loser. A significant portion of early online communication involved everyone telling everyone else to get a life.

    In We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, former Frontline producer Brian Knappenberger's fascinating, incisive social history of the online network known as Anonymous, those early grapplings are the source of a strange and amorphous moral awakening. That awakening occurred within a nascent society with its own culture (with trolling its first art form), language ("lulz"and "moralfag" being two coinages), value system (freedom of expression and information above all), and sense of identity (where anonymity is claimed as a collective sensibility, political position, and moral imperative). Having aspired only to the expression of unmitigated id, its members began to discover and develop their power to effect significant change along with good-time plunder.

    That the beginning of this process looked a lot, as one hacktivist suggests, like a virtual Lord of the Flies is not out of keeping with the history of either civil disobedience or computer science. Protest and prank have always been close relatives, and as Knappenberger points out, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs got their start committing electronic mischief and outright theft. It's a spectrum, you might say. Certainly there is a spectrum of interpretation when it comes to seventh-circle portals like 4chan, which is described here as — for better or worse — "the sum of human imagination."

    How the denizens of 4chan moved from disrupting Second Life games for lulz to taking on the Church of Scientology is the central hinge of Knappenberger's story. Appropriately enough, it started with a video, that Tom Cruise barn-burner circa January 2008, which Scientology HQ worked swiftly to wipe from the face of the web. It was the audacity of that eradication that caught the attention of the 4chaners who became known as Anonymous. Together, they targeted Scientology websites (a move that brought the FBI to the door of several kids featured here) and organized international IRL protests, a move whose greatest success might have been getting a bunch of basement-dwellers laid.

    Like cavemen discovering fire, the group quickly split between those who wanted to continue illuminating important issues (including Wikileaks and the Arab Spring) and those who just wanted to watch the world burn. The Guy Fawkes mask adopted by Anonymous members (who reject the idea of a single leader on principle) is meant to intimidate as much as protect; theirs is an increasingly rare spirit of revolt. "Expect us," they say, though the meaning of that warning remains in flux; the evolution toward a consistency of ideals has proved as tricky as Knappenberger makes it engrossing and essential to watch.
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  14. Anonymous Member

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  15. Anonymous Member

    We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists – FDL Movie Night Preview

    On Saturday, February 10 2008, I had a life changing experience. My friend Maria called me up and said, “Check out this website, then I’m coming over and we’re walking to the protest.” Uh okay. Little did I realize that just two weeks earlier in my living room, my housemate, journalist Mark Ebner had dullah’ed the nascent Chanology movement, the first real life appearance of “the internet hate machine” aka Anonymous, by flowing the now infamous Tom Cruise Scientology video to Gawker. I thought he was just chasing some story as he babbled into his cell phone, banging away at the computer. But what he actually did was launch Anonymous into the public eye. And the protest Maria dragged me to was the two-headed baby that Mark helped shoot out of the womb of the internet. Or some other equally tortured metaphor.

    I spent nearly nine months protesting with Anonymous. I threw myself into it, especially after I ran into people I’d known in earlier phases of my life behind the masks. I was shoved, followed and chased by those we protested and their private goon squads; encouraged, supported (and berated for my hideous typing skills in IRC) by a core group of Anons. We marched in parades and changed a Los Angeles City street closure code through legal means, and generally had fun, goofing late into the night making jokes in chat rooms. By September 2008, my time in Anon/Project Chanology felt complete, and I stopped visiting our IRC, though I stayed in touch with a few of people I’d gotten to know in real life. When one of the main Anons in Los Angeles, and a foundational 4Channer, known as ODB or The Captain, who I knew from the record industry as Sean Carasov died, Anons formed an honor guard at his memorial.

    But of course I paid attention to what Anonymous was up to via the news: Wikileaks, Tunisia, OpPayback, OpBART. I flew up to San Francisco to cover OpBART for FDL where I saw some of Monday’ s movie We Are Legion being filmed and got handfuls of fliers for Occupy Wall Street.

    We Are Legion is an in-depth look at Anonymous, tracing its history back to the early hacking culture, through 4Chan, Chanology, through Wikileaks/OpPayback, Tunisia, LulzSec, betrayals, backstabbings, FBI raids, and prison sentences, and their support of Occupy.

    Please join us and We Are Legion‘s director/writer/producer Brian Knappenberger Monday at 8pm ET (5pm PT). on the front page of
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  16. Anonymous Member

    Brian Knappenberger answers questions in the comments.
  17. Anonymous Member

    Somebody have an account over there? If so, log in and tell them they got the site wrong., not .com
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  18. Anonymous Member

    It was written by MarcabEmpress.
  19. Anonymous Member

    Hey Brian,
    Hope you made lots of money.
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  20. Anonymous Member

    This vid is sick as fuck.
  21. Anonymous Member

    This is a nice followup on my previous post on The Pirate Bay - Away From Keyboard. It is an excellent portrait of the hacktivist movement otherwise know as 'Anonymous' and derivatives like Lulzsec. Where TPB AFK was blowing my mind at times because of strange conclusions by legal systems, then this is even stranger. Because this takes place in 'Murica. And in 'Murica it is a bigger crime to protest a large bank online who steal large sums of money that it is molesting children.

    The documentary shows great depth into the world of 4Chan and how Anonymous came to be. How Anonymous propelled the Occupy movement and the things they did in the name of freedom of speech. The documentary leaves some important parts out, but you'll get a pretty good idea. Overall this is a more 'American' style documentary, a bit more sensationalistic when compared to TPB - AFK, a style I prefer over the prior. Here's a small list of events featured: Habbo Raid (The pool's closed), Hal Turner Raid, Operations Payback, Avenge Assange and Bradical, The Arab Spring and Project Chanology. I really enjoyed this documentary as it speaks to me both as someone from the generation as I'm someone from the internets. Although it is harder to sympathise with LulzSec, (they did provide me with copious amounts of Lulz), I know I appreciate 4Chan's/Anonymous' 'moralfags' a lot. :)

    You can buy the movie, DRM free, directly on the site. However, if you've seen my previous post, I'm sure you can think of another way to get your hands on it. All in all a good documentary if you're into internet culture. Enjoy.
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  22. Anonymous Member

    Margaret Wieringa:

    With the Internet, it is much easier for people to get organised and take action. It is, if you know how, possible to remain anonymous. And what’s more, it can be hilarious. We Are Legion follows the rise of the hackivist collective ‘Anonymous’ through interviews with both identified and anonymous members of the group. There are various actions taken with varying levels of legality. The targets are also varied – from a very nasty radio jock through to the Scientologists. After the recent Arab Spring uprisings, there is no doubt that technology has a major part to play in the world of protests, but a film such as this highlights just how varied the action can be. Fascinating, amusing and a must see for anyone with a social conscience. Especially if you’re not up-to-date with what is possible.
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  23. Anonymous Member

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  24. Anonymous Member
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  25. Anonymous Member

  26. Anonymous Member

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  27. The Wrong Guy Member

    This thread seemed as good as any to share this:

    Russell Brand NEWSNIGHT Paxman vs Brand Full Interview

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  28. muldrake Member

    Finally watched this, and was amused to notice that I'm actually in it for about a half a second.

    Also really liked the soundtrack by John Dragonetti, who is one-half of The Submarines, a neat little indy band.
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  29. Anonymous Member

    I've read some interesting posts of yours that provide perspectives on legal issues.

    After watching the Knappenberger movie, did you form any opinions about the ideas having to do with DDoS being a form of political protest?

    In the movie, I seem to recall mentions of earlier protest tactics, taking the form of sit ins, and this example being used as analogous to the digital mischief making of DDoS operations; activities that several so-called 'hactivists' have been arrested, charged and prosecuted for.

    I recall the movie showing the person convicted of DDoSing the cult for a few days.

    I'm just curious about whether or not you've done any ruminating on any of those ideas.
  30. muldrake Member

    I thought attorney Stanley Cohen made one of the better arguments for the position that DDoS (at least in these cases) is a protected form of political speech, but I still think the analogy breaks down. One does not hear of the Russian Mafia, for instance, staging sit-ins and demanding a million dollars to stop. DDoS, by comparison, is routinely used as a tool of extortion, precisely because it causes economic damage to the target.

    My problem is with the incredibly disproportionate punishment even when the DDoS caused no measurable damage. For instance, I could walk into a room with a sledgehammer and smash a computer in it to pieces and have it count as simple vandalism. I might get probation and have to pay for it. If I cause it to go down for a few minutes over the Internet, it becomes a federal felony and I could spend five years behind bars.

    Some have argued that these kinds of draconian penalties are okay because federal prosecutors can be trusted to decide which cases merit the more severe punishments, but as so many cases have shown, like Aaron Swartz or even weev or Barrett Brown, federal prosecutors know only one rule and that is to go after you with all guns blazing whether you're an actual criminal extortionist or just a prankster.

    So I can't really subscribe to the notion that DDoS is benign. Disrupting the Internet and causing collateral damage as it does, I think it should be avoided. It's an immense waste of bandwidth.

    But Brian Mettenbrink spending even a minute behind bars is idiocy.
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  31. Anonymous Member

    Thank you for your thoughts and comments.

    All of them echo my own sentiments about the politics of the DDoS issue, and the disproportionate punishments meted out issue.

    And, for those involved, it's the old - seemed like a good idea the the time, yer honor.

    And at the time, it was one of the handy, easy-to-use tools to use on-line to protest the cult.

    But it it wasn't a legal-to-use tool then, it isn't legal now and it should never be legal.

    But as you point out, damages caused should be the issue when measurements are made in relation to punishment.

    As for the punishments being meted out, in all on-going and current cases involving internet issues and transgressions, I think that the disproportionate punishments are an index of the fear experienced by the powers-that-be.

    While the reactions to the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty are all over the map, I found those scenes to be an index of the intensity of fear being experienced by those in the US Government.

    The USG has a long history of subscribing to an ends-justify-the-means philosophy and that may be part of the American Exceptionalism paradigm. Noble Cause Corruption, and all that, which appears to this non-US fag, to have infected American jurisprudence very deeply.
  32. DeathHamster Member

    And they lay on a vast number of charges; as if it was a separate charge for every blow of the hammer, or if you wheeled out a cart of documents, a separate theft charge for every page. I don't know if they've ever taken that sort of nonsense to court, or only used it as a heavy threat to get a plea-bargain.

    The "protected computer" stuff used to jack up the charges is nonsense too. When that law was drafted in the 80s, there were only corporate mainframes that qualified. Now every mom'n'pop website on the Internet qualifies as a protected computer if they sell t-shirts.
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  33. Anonymous Member

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  34. anonsparrow Member

    Dam I finally saw this movie (We Are Legion) and loved it. Thanks to anon news on twitter for the link.

    It explained a ton of shit that I never understood before about early anonymous memes/images/history/etc. For example, I never understood what "Pool's Closed" means. Shit's hilarious now that I know what it means. I mean it was funny before too but I was just faking it.

    Thanks to everyone for all their awesome work!
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  35. Great to hear from you, Sparrow!

    With your memorable video encounters with creepy scilons (and NOI goons), you made a big contribution to the Chanology story yourself, and added a meme or two of your own - every time I see a Hawaiian shirt, every time I see a solitary sparrow in my garden, I'm reminded of your vids,

    And always remember folks, what every "church" needs at 8 am on a Sunday is a small dose of Death Metal.
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  36. I watched this last night, really touched me.
  37. tippytoe Member

    So good to hear from you again Sparrow! I know calling someone a hero round these parts is frowned upon, but to me you are. Your videos are priceless, and a microcosm of the in-person protest era of Chanology, chronicling all the scandals that arose throughout those many months and showing Scienctology thuggery at its finest. Unfortunately, you were on the receiving end of that thuggery.

    You were doing it solo most of the time which just amazes me. You embodied that Chanology sense of humor and irreverence, all set to an awesome musical soundtrack. I sincerely hope that life has been treating you well since the end of the trials and that you are happy and healthy in every way. You deserve all the kudos you get.
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