2&6 Columnist: Charlotte Hingley
“We do not trust your corrupt organisation to carry out justice, so we will be exposing your many crimes to the world. We are a legion.”
Hacktivism is an extremely powerful means of political protest – possessing the technological capabilities to hack systems, conduct DDoS attacks and expose data not only directly disrupts the mechanisms of daily life, but facilitates the unlocking of a realm that only elites can usually enter.
When combining technological mastership with the passion of protest, a uniquely powerful force is created – a force that is extremely threatening to the elite. Wealth and power come hand in hand. While 76% of millionaires in the world are white, a marginal 8% are black. What this tells us is that white economic privilege is thriving, and due to the interchangeability money has with power and thus elitism, the potent threat of hacktivism is extremely profitable for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Kick Down The Doors
At its core, hacktivism not only seeks a transparent information society, but strives for a society where corporate giants and powerful elites are held accountable for their crimes as a fundamental means of democracy. In order to truly achieve the goal of Black Lives Matter, it is vital that these two entities make perpetual changes in the way they function. The western power structure is built on a colonialist perspective, the decision makers being entirely white means that the foundations of the modern world are built on systematic racism, classism and sexism. The following centuries of imperialism have deeply engraved the global racial ‘order’ into the facets of society – we witness this through the education, political and economic systems. Racism stems from the top of society.
We repeatedly witness a cyclical flow between western policy decision makers, power is passed from generation to generation and white men still dominate the majority of the elite sphere. Despite the fact ‘white men have never made up the majority of the US population’ they still make up the majority of political decision makers.
A side effect of power is the mindset that you can live beyond the law. We witness this anywhere from the elite circle of Donald Trump to the police institution. In a world where data is more valuable than oil, hacktivism gives political protest an invaluable asset of accessing a realm of secrets – a realm that is necessary to access, as we have seen the archetypal nature of white elites to live beyond fear in a bubble that is extremely hard to pierce.
Anonymous returned by releasing a video on social media that concluded: “We do not trust your corrupt organisation to carry out justice, so we will be exposing your many crimes to the world. We are a legion. Expect us”.
This would not be the first time the hacking group have helped a protest movement.
Hacktivism Thus Far
In 2013, Anonymous released a database on Wikileaks, uncovering highly sensitive information – the data included 3 million private messages detailing the U.S. government’s monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street movement to Stratfor’s (a surveillance company) own role in compiling data on a variety of activist movements that were seen as a threat to corporate profit.
The hacker, Jeremy Hammond, consequently exposed government and corrupt police identities in the midst of these actions, and used uncovered credit card details to make $700,000 worth of donations to charities. The Occupation Wall Street movement took a stance against economic inequality, to which the hacktivists were able to directly aid in the redistribution of wealth.
However, the full extent of this information was not broadcasted in the mainstream media. The threat Anonymous poses leads to ubiquitous politically motivated framing of hacktivist groups. To keep up to date with their alliance with the Black Lives Matter movement, it is more fruitful to check social media, WikiLeaks and other news outlets such as Democracy Now! that is funded through listener donations rather than advertisement.
So far, Anonymous have teamed up with the K-Pop fan division (#OpFanCam) to eliminate the ‘#WhiteOutWednesday’ – this hashtag was intended to spread hate and ideology in response to the #BlackOutTuesday. Instead, if searching for #WhiteOutWednesday, you will be confronted exclusively with a mass of K-Pop fan cam videos. Here, we can see that the use of humor in the face of racism can be a means to belittle and undermine supporters of white supremacy.
Additionally, as a stance against police corruption, the collective hacked the Chicago Police Department’s radio to play NWA’s ‘Fuck Tha Police’ down the line and took down the Minnesota State Senate website.
The hacktivist group also put out a warning to US federal troops in response to Donald Trump’s threat of deploying the army on his own people. Anonymous tweeted: ‘We’ve got a message to all US federal troops. Do not engage in illegal orders. If you do engage in illegal orders there will be severe consequences. It is illegal for federal troops to enter states without Governor approval #Anonymous’. (@YourAnonNews).
The killing of George Floyd catalyzed a mass global (white) awakening to the roots of colonialism embedded in society. We need to see a western shift in the power dynamic of white men, and to begin to rebuild the foundations of society, only then will we start to see the abolishment of systematic racism. There are so many hidden agencies and agendas found within the inner workings of the government that research cannot expose – making people such as Anonymous the only people who can possibly uncover them and evoke a urgent sense of fear to powerful individuals.