|Mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer (Photo: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)|
Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
I never used to have a problem with Anonymous and their sometimes hilarious exploits, especially when it came to the “Church” of Scientology. However, when they start doing things that police departments can construe as a direct threat against a public servant, I start to worry. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that these types of actions are exactly what the government needs to push through China-style Internet legislation.
To be fair, this was not a direct threat. In fact, all they did was take a picture outside of his house. This is the newest move made by Anonymous members carrying out “Operation Orlando.” The picture was taken at night, outside of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s home and included the signature Guy Fawkes mask.
According to the Orlando police department, they are going to patrol the neighborhood more heavily attempting to find “anybody who looks like they don’t belong there.” Is it just me or does that sound like the justification police give for pulling over and/or hassling anyone who doesn’t look rich enough to be in the neighborhood? This is commonly known as racial profiling, although maybe the Orlando PD is on the lookout for a teenager running around in a Guy Fawkes mask?
Either way, declaring that you’re going to be looking for (and likely detaining) anyone who seems to not fit in to the College Park neighborhood of Orlando, Florida is somewhat worrisome. This is the part that Anonymous never seems to weigh before conducting their operations: the impact upon society.
I wholeheartedly support the efforts of activists in Orlando to feed the homeless, regardless of absurd laws that are resulting in arrests for keeping hungry Americans from starving. However, is a hacking campaign at all constructive? I do not find this to be the case.
What exactly are they hoping to accomplish by doing nothing other than annoying people by bringing down city websites? If Anonymous really cared about this horrendous breach of civil liberties, why wouldn’t they participate in a way that actually contributes something to the cause? How about raising money for legal aid for those arrested, or organizing massive homeless feedings across all of Orlando, to the point where it would be impossible for the Orlando PD to shut them all down?
I could come up with several options that do not have the negative impact that these futile hacking attempts do. The most important thing is actually feeding the hungry, underserved, and struggling homeless Americans in Orlando. Bringing down city websites does absolutely nothing for this.
The insane law that Anonymous is attempting to help fight requires anyone who seeks to feed hungry people to obtain a city permit. Furthermore, the ordinance limits “each group to no more than two permits per park, per year,” as reported by the Orlando Sentinel. There’s no doubt that this is a completely un-American and ludicrous ordinance that cannot be rationally justified.
Anonymous was able to breach a secure area of the Democratic Party of Orange County’s website which resulted in the release of passwords, names, addresses, and phone numbers of members. Just like the release of over 62,000 emails and passwords of everyday people carried out by LulzSec, there is absolutely no upside to this, unless you’re one of the many corporations and politicians pushing the Protect IP act.
What exactly was Anonymous expecting to gain with the release of personal information of persons not directly involved with the ordinance and the arrests that are made because of it? Again, would it not be more constructive to take direct action and actually feed people instead of leaking passwords?
The only gain I see these attacks garnering is the support of the public for the law currently being considered by Congress known as the Protect IP act. A more accurate name would be the More Restrictive Than China Act. In fact, over 90 law professors from across the nation have penned a letter to Congress detailing the unconstitutionality of the act.
Interestingly, Anonymous hacked some of the corporations that are advocating this bill, Universal Music and Viacom.
The most frightening thing about this preposterous bill is that it would allow the United States to seize domains that have absolutely no connection with America, even if they have country-specific Top Level Domains (TLDs) like .sy (Syria) .ly (Libya) .nz (New Zealand) .fr (France), etc.
Does anonymous realize that they are not helping, but actually hindering the activists while lending plenty of support for the Protect IP act or whatever legislation will be proposed if it fails?
In an exclusive interview with the Raw Story, the media liaison for the Orlando chapter of the human rights group Food Not Bombs, revealed that:
‘We feel that what [Anonymous is] doing is a distraction to dealing with the real issues,’ he said. ‘The real issues here are very simple: We have a city that’s trying to stop people from sharing food in public parks to meet a community need. We have a mayor who’s trying to criminalize poverty.’
So with the group directly involved in feeding these starving people while knowingly being subject to arrest calling the Anonymous hacks “a distraction,” why would they continue? The only logical conclusion I can come to is that they really have no interest in helping these causes and are instead rallying support for draconian Internet control systems. Of course, they could just be a little confused, immature, and short sighted. It is something to consider and watch for in the coming weeks and months.
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