Anonymous vs Wikileaks...you can condemn a man but not wipe out an ideology

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pierluigi Paganini

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(Translated from the original Italian)

Hacktivism is considered one of the most interesting phenomena of the last year, despite this form of dissent is dated in the last years it has catalyzed the media attention with its exploit.

Hacktivism is considered one of the main cyber threats and its operations have created serious problems to private businesses and governments, for this reason security expert all over the world are trying to deeply analyze the different movements of dissent and their mutual relationship. In the collective the term hacktivist is immediately associated to names of group such as Anonymous and Wikileaks, two groups that in more than one occasion have operated together for a common intent. We must specify that the two souls of the hacktivism are very different for organization and modus operandi, Anonymous collective hasn’t a leader such as Assange for Wikileaks and it doesn’t have an organic structure, but consists of a multitude of cells that sometimes have moved in a manner dissonant. Other deep difference is in the way to move the protest, Anonymous hackers usually choose a target and try to attach it in various ways, Wikileaks follows whistleblowing strategy using information acquires from third parts. The two organization are complementary and have demonstrated that joining their force could represents a serious menace.

In 2010, Anonymous organized different attacks against the sites of MasterCard, Visa and Paypal to protest against the refuse of these companies to send customer donations to WikiLeaks, don’t forget also the collaboration in the case of Stratfor hack.

But what is happened to the solid alliance?

A deep crack seems to threaten the relationship between the two groups, recently Anonymous collective, at least in some of its current, has released many announcements and posted many tweets to express disappoint against the policy of Wikileaks.

"The end of an era. We unfollowed @Wikileaks and withdraw our support. It was an awesome idea, ruined by Egos. Good Bye," said a tweet from Anonymous IRC.

In the following picture other messages from collective.

The fracture occurred this week because Wikileaks organization added an overlay donation page that popped up when user visited the web site's Global Intelligence Files.

The web site propose the millions of emails leaked from intelligence company Stratfor and stolen by Anonymous with a clamorous hack to the web site of the company, that's why the collective hasn't accepted the decision of Wikileaks to request a donation for the precious contents.

"The information must to be free, it hasn't owners" that's is the thought of Anonymous that interpreted donation page as a "paywall" and an unacceptable affront.

"We call on @WikiLeaks to change their current set up to force donations. #InformationWantsToBeFree," states a tweet.

The page seems to be related to a fundraising campaign pro Assange announced on Oct.3. WikiLeaks confirmed that the banner is financially necessary during the US election campaign which will expire on Election Day. Assange asking for donations, in the ad he suggests the supported to “vote with their wallet” this election season.

 “WikiLeaks faces unprecedented costs due to involvement in over 12 concurrent legal matters around the world, including our litigation of the US military in the Bradley Manning case. Our FBI file as of the start of the year had grown to 42,135 pages,”

A note positioned at the bottom of the WikiLeaks page, however, says the banner only appears once a day for each user.

WikiLeaks was surprised by the reaction of Anonymous and in a first moment defended its initiative leaving the page, but later it removed it.

WikiLeaks tweeted the following reply to the group of hacktivist:

"A tweet, share, wait or donate campaign is not a 'paywall,’”

Is it possible that the split is triggered by the single published web page? What is changed in the relationship between the groups?

According the declarations of Anonymous the recent evolution of Wikileaks are too different from its original motivations, today it appears concentrate to preserve its leader Julian Assange from the extradition in the Sweden  to face rape charge. Once in Sweden the government could send Assange to U.S. to face charges for publishing secret documents leaked by Army analyst Bradley Manning, but Washington considers him a danger for homeland security exactly like al-Qaida.

A statement published on pastebin.com states that Anonymous cannot support the “One Man Julian Assange show,” adding that the collective continues to support the principles behind WikiLeaks.

"We have been worried about the direction Wikileaks is going for sometime now," "In the past year, the focus has moved away from actual leaks and the fight for freedom of information and concentrated more and more on Julian Assange and a rabid scrounging for money."

"Anonymous turns it's back on WikiLeaks,"

"WikiLeaks has with its actions this past 48 hours betrayed Anonymous, and thus has lost its biggest and most powerful supporter."

I think what happened is another demonstration of the heterogeneity Anonymous group that does not seem to be compact on this occasion. This is the greatest limit of the collective, it's hasn't a unique soul and this characteristic is penalizing it's possibility to influence worldwide policy.

Certainly some currents within the group are contrary to the policy of Wikileaks but many other faces were not expressed in a manner so hard against the group of Assange.

But reading these press Such contrasting springs to mind another idea:
And if someone was deliberately introducing elements of disorder in the dialogue between the two organizations. The absence of a leader in Anonymous, again, may be the weak point of the collective, a multitude of uncoordinated groups move too simple to operate on some of them feeding the clutch with Wikileaks.

Who would want that? Surely governments, but also some intelligence organizations who fear the collaboration between Wikileaks and Anonymous.

For many experts in our sector the whistleblowing and the hacktivism in general represents an evolution of ordinary protest through the new media, while condemning some sensational initiatives many believe that the revelations of some of the burning truth has contributed to a change, but these contrasts represent a dangerous evolution of the phenomenon.

Assange has become a leader in a cage, an icon of a movement that has to live its own life, just as I imagine he desires, you can condemn a man but not wipe out an ideology.

Pierluigi Paganini

 

References

http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/9502/hacking/anonymous-vs-wikileaks-you-can-condemn-a-man-but-not-wipe-out-an-ideology.html

 

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