Humanity, Evil, and the Internet

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Parmy Olson: WE ARE ANONYMOUS Chapters 1-3

"Ruining people's lives gave William a thrill, and a sense of power unlike anything he had felt in the outside world. The only other time he felt anything similar was when he would quietly slip outside his house in the dead of night, meet up with a few old friends, and spray colorful graffiti on the local walls or trains" (Olson, p. 30).

Upon reading the beginning of We Are Anonymous, I am enraged at Topiary, Sabu, and Kayla for viciously ceasing control of Aaron Barr. An Internet assault of this caliber is personal and highly destructive. The Internet Centrist perspective would argue that the Internet is creating new opportunities for conflict, immorality, and evil behavior, like using the discovered password to expand beyond email to Barr's Facebook, twitter, Yahoo!, and World of Warcraft accounts. Overachieving beyond their goal of accessing email was malicious. I believe that intentional destruction of others is nothing new and that it cannot be attributed to the capabilities of the World Wide Web. The new media platform encourages different kinds of human conflict, and the most fascinating part is the psychological patterns that remain consistent through past, present, and future. The 'group think' mentality happens among hackers separated by states, countries, continents, and hemispheres. These hackers are a unique breed with talent and skills most of the population will never acquire. Their potential for inflicting immense distress upon any and every chosen victim is daunting. The group 'Anonymous' believes information should be free. They are knowledgeable. Knowledge is power, but they use their knowledge to unjustly demolish people that do not agree with their beliefs. For this reason, their ability and actions demonstrated in the beginning of the book are negative examples so far of what humans can implement using free information. So far, the text fails to get the reader to understand these hackers or their ferocious mission: "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us." The text successfully demonstrates that this army is powerful, and this army seems hypocritical.

I plan to approach the rest of this book looking at the capabilities and tendencies of all humans alike despite the Internet platform as an enabler. Humans that hack, humans that vandalize, humans that break the law, and humans that attack one another... Evengy Morozov describes Wicked Problems in his book The Net Delusion, and Olson's first chapters of We Are Anonymous demonstrate some of the Wicked Problems that permeate humanity, especially our evil tendencies. Finally, I think the "group think" aspect is just as powerful as the anonymity of the group when it comes to taking action against others.


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I agree that the statement surprised me, the fact that he got a thrill out of destroying someones life is disturbing to me. It says to me that there are some deep psychological issues, no human being should get a thrill or joy out of destroying someone else in my opinion. To attack Barr on a personal level was malicious. It makes one think about the power that this group has.

What happened to Barr was pretty sad. Later on in the book it talks about how random people started showing up at his house trying to take pictures and peek inside. He really started to fear for his children's safety and decided to move, that's how bad it got. And I am just going to take a guess that his company won't be doing well for a while if not having to close down all together.

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This page contains a single entry by jack0662 published on April 11, 2013 12:40 AM.

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