” Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!”
Anonymous is a loosely based online social activist group, called hacktivists because they use their computer knowledge to hack into systems for a wide variety of social causes.
Formed in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, they gained their greatest inspiration form the 2006 film, “V For Vendetta.” The main character, V, wears a Guy Fawkes mask and uses the 1604 Gunpowder Plot as inspiration for fight against an oppressive British government of the future.
Guy Fawkes was a British catholic who joined a group plotting to blow up Parliament and kill the new king James I. He was discovered in the cellars with a huge number of gunpowder barrels and a slow burning match. He was tortured and gave up the names of his fellow conspirators. They were all horribly tortured to death. Each year on November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in England by burning him in effigy. He is also the source of the common term “guy” to mean a male person.
Since Anonymous is an open organization with no leader, their operations can vary widely from computer pranks to very serious attempts to shut down the computers of oppressive governments. They have often exposed the hypocrisy of various government and business leaders, releasing photos and computer records those people would rather hide from the public. They release up to the second information from protests and other social events. Since Islamic State is such a tech savvy organization, Anonymous wages a cyber against them in the darkness of the internet.
Computer security firms love and hate them. Love them because corporations pay big money to keep them out, and hate them because often they overcome the new security so quickly.
Wishing no political power for themselves, Anonymous are true social justice warriors. They say that everyone is a member if they wish to be, and no one. Arrests have been made, but the organization continues.
November 5th is the international day of Anonymous, and each year they hold a Million Mask March in various cities of the world.Next year is the 10th anniversary of V for Vendetta, and it will be interesting to see what they have planned. They are on every form of social media, and you can watch their videos on YouTube or visit their sites on Facebook, such as Anonymous and Anonops.
Next time you see a Guy Fawkes mask at a protest, you will now understand the symbolism.
As long as we use computers, governments/corporations will be vulnerable to hacking. And as long as there is injustice, there will be those who fight it with other computers.
And they will always be Anonymous.