This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
Lately a word has been on the lips and minds of Playstation owners and minor league writers such as myself. We don't want to talk about this word, however. The reprecussions of doing so would in the minds of many be the digital equivilant of poking a bear with a stick and shaking your meat-covered rear at the giant beast in jest. So, we whom wish to speak our mind sit and seeth, unable to feel like we have any power.
Am I talking about Skynet? Voldemorte? Republicans?
Of course, I am talking about "hacktivist" group, Anonymous.
I am not the first person to have the following thoughts on Anonymous and hacker-kind alike, nor will I be the last. Frankly, groups like these live on the fringe of what is concieved as a digital wild west, hiding on the furthest reaches of the internet, yet still somehow able to communicate and stay connected with their ilk with the precision of a bombing run on Misrata. This, in their minds, gives them the moral plausibility and denial that only anonymity can give.
The rhetoric could be broken down, but I am not here for a psychology or communications lesson. I am here to speak my mind on this group that pushes forth an image that is supposed to make those like me take their side. After all, if they could so easily hurt the large then how hard would the act of hurting the small be?
This is part of the problem, and luckily, the small are getting angry.
Recent attacks on PSN (which were just confirmed today to be an outside source) have brought the network that supports over 60 million registered users to it's knees, causing a large quantity of people to be irriated. Understandably so. After all, those registered users (myself included) pay for products and we expect these to work in the fashion intended. However, those affiliated with Anonymous would try to make you believe that to not be true.
Anonymous' beef with Sony is a long drawn out and time consuming story that boils down quite well: Hackers want to hack and modify without reprecussions and Sony decided to fight back. Since then, Anonymous has gone the sanctimonious route and attempted to turn this around on Sony, calling the actions of the corporation to be an attack on the free speech of the homebrew and hacking community.
Side note: I find it funny that this group, made up at it's head by a large number of Britains, is bemoaning about free speech to a Japanese corporation.
Anonymous initially attacked and brought down different sections of Sony's online presence, calling it a call to awareness that the right to free trade of information was being attacked. In the reality that is the real world however, innocent people that simply want their console to play videogames and nothing more are being affected.
Anonymous' response? Twofold. On one end, they shouted that every Sony customer should avidly support their actions because Anonymous itself was doing so for the people. Then, when people were angry with their actions accused Sony customers of being lazy, overly attached to their technology, and that maybe they could spend this PSN downtime doing something constructive. See below for said hypocracy.
I'll be frank, in the matter of Sony eliminating the exchange of free information, I could care less. Anonymous seems to think that their rights are being removed because Sony decided to dictate how the hardware and software they designed should be used, and respond the way any group of socially raised in the internet generation types would respond: as if they are entitled.
After all, this entire arguement boils down to entitlement and hypocrisy. Anonymous wishes to be the wild west gunslinger, going town to town and righting the wrongs of the oppressed in a world where their actions, not identities are what matter. However, when the people who have to live their daily lives and use the power of the internet for more than "the lulz" turn against the gunslinger they attack and pronounce that this is "for our own good".
They assume that anonymity removes liability.
Is it wrong of me to just want to play my video games in my spare time? Am I not entitled to feel safe online with my information?
This is not the wild west. You are not the plucky hero.
So, dear reader, ask yourself this: Whom do you believe in this story? The corporation that has a vested interest in making it's customers happy, or the group trying to tell you that all the harm they do is for your own good?
Originally submitted on www.digitalhippos.com