Following up from the story about the Internet group Anonymous taking itself too seriously, the organisers of the now infamous Operation Payback have issued a statement of intentions. It seems like they were honestly thinking that they would be getting more serious attention by then, given the grandiose claims they make. I reproduce the statement in full.
“I haven’t heard anything about us in the elections in USA.
I haven’t read anything about Operation: Payback in my newspapers.
Operation: Payback still has a too low profile. It has been fun DDoSing, but now we need some results. As spokesman for Anonymous I have written a lot of statements for the past five weeks. I am satisfied that a lot of those statements have been published on the larger news websites and sometimes even made the national news and newspapers.
But apparently DDoSing and hacking websites alone is not good enough. Apparently we are still not any worse than a train being ten minutes late. We could announce actions for the fifth of November, next year. But I doubt those will be taken serious either. We started attacking government sites, but those will eventually be ignored as well.
So I say you, we take this to a higher level. We will print posters, we will send emails, we will send letters. We will broadcast our manifestos and intentions. We will involve people who do not know nor care. We will involve everybody. Whether they want it or not.
We don’t have the money to spend on Guy Fawkes / V for Vendetta masks for everybody, nor would we spend our money on it. But we will use a feasible approach. Involving local, then national, then global politics. Anonymous has been –without knowing– holding back. We have seen what we can do to Andrew Crossley and his firm. We saw what happened to Gene Simmons. But all this is still child play.
We are still ignored.
So from now on, WE set the scale. We come up with demands, feasible demands, about copyright, censorship and government influences. We present them the choice. And when they decide to ignore us still, we will fuck stuff up. We have been holding back on them too long. But no more of that. We switched IRC servers too often. But no more of that. They have taken down our websites too many times. But no more of that. If they want to get personal, they can GET it. So stop messing around.
We will put our posters in every supermarket, school, every billboard and open place. We will spread our flyers in every public place. We will send anonymous letters. We will make prank calls. We will paint on your houses. We will leave our trails. We will wake you up in the middle of the night. We will remind you of our statements. The more you try to ignore us, the more noise we will make.
Anonymous will be set free. Anonymous will no longer be controlled. Chaos.
We are Anonymous.
We are not alone.”
Perhaps I have been mistaken in trying to give Anonymous too much credit in the past. The above statement makes one wonder about who is behind the text. Prank calls? Painting houses? Waking people up in the middle of the night? Seriously?
I still think that the main motivation for most of Anonymous is the lulz, and only a minority take the movement seriously. Perhaps some of those involved were taken by surprise by the success experienced in the ACS:Law case, and now believe that they can go even further by making policy demands. Perhaps someone should explain to those involved that threats will not work in this instance.
Anonymous has been very successful at what it has set out to do so far, namely knocking websites off the Internet for a limited period of time, but the attempts at policy talk read, to put it politely, like playground bullying.
ETA: Here is an interesting look at the inner working of Anonymous. Further evidence that the momentum is gone, and some of the people involved do not know what to do next.