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Posts Tagged ‘Anonymous’

More Secure, Anonymous “Twitter Alternative” Being Used By Protesters

There’s a new social network on the block that touts itself as being more secure, private, and anonymous than Twitter – something that the protesters at #OccupyWallstreet are embracing with open arms.
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Anonymous Hacktivist Group Creates Program To Hijack Twitter’s Trending Topics

The hacktivist group Anonymous – previously crashing corporate and government websites as a form of online protest – has now reared its head in the direction of Twitter.

The group has created software which allows anyone to hijack a trending topic, posting tweets of their choice alongside regular tweets attached to that topic.
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If Twitter Sells Out Wikileaks, It Could Be Hacked As Early As This Weekend

Exciting stuff.

Since its inception, the internet has provided new ways for people all over the world to exercise the rights of free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. These rights are not simply the benefits of a free society–they are the very means of preserving that society’s freedom. The recent increase in government interference with these freedoms coincides with the failure of the corporate media to fulfill their vital role in checking the abuse of authority. Censorship and journalistic abdication have left citizens unaware and unable to hold their governments accountable.

WikiLeaks has moved to fill the void left by traditional news media, providing the necessary information for citizens to hold their governments to account. Yet it has not been granted the legal protections generally afforded to journalists. Instead, the organization has been vilified and monetary support has been blocked by governments and private corporations. The vitriol aimed at WikiLeaks demonstrates an unsettling disregard for the fundamental freedom to exchange information and express ideas. Members of a free society must not allow information to be suppressed simply because it inconveniences those in power. We share the responsibility to defend vital liberties. The time to act is now.

We are Anonymous, a leaderless movement that has worked tirelessly to oppose all forms of Internet censorship worldwide, from DMCA abuses to government mandated content filters. Our initiatives include supporting dissenting groups in Iran, Zimbabwe and Tunisia, as well as waging the highly visible information battle against the Church of Scientology. We are now prepared to take the fight to the world stage. Join us on January 15th for the first in a series of global protests in defense of WikiLeaks and freedom of expression. Stand with us to defend your freedoms.

We Are Anonymous And So Are You

So reports Why We Protest. There’s even a video.

Crikey.

At the moment Twitter are very much in Anonymous’ good books, as they’ve both opposed the Wikileaks subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice (read it here) that ordered them to hand over the account details of all 637,000 @wikileaks followers, and made the legal action very public. But, reports MSNBC and others, that boldness cannot last forever. Law is law – and even Twitter’s own policy means that ultimately they’ll likely hand over the data.

“[N]on-public information about Twitter users is not released unless we have received a subpoena, court order or other legal process document.”

So, here’s the real question: if Twitter is forced to comply, does this mean that, in spite of their stalling and momentary act of bravery, they’ll be next on Anonymous’ hit list, simply because they’ve sold out to the man?

Perhaps. And if it happens before this weekend, then brace yourself for at least a few hours of minor annoyance.

Tell Your Boss What You Really Think of Her on Twitter, Without any Repercussions

Ever wish you could say something on Twitter, but you had to bite your tongue because of a little thing call “reputation management”? Want to let someone know how you feel, but too afraid of the tweet storm that might follow? TwitterLeaks lets you tweet anonymously, getting all your frustration out without having to deal with sticky situations involving bosses, exes or coworkers.
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WikiLeaks’ Defender “Anonymous” Attacks MasterCard Using Twitter; Gets Banned

Twitter has suspended the original account of the Anonymous group that has been attacking PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and other institutions that pulled support from WikiLeaks. The suspension came right on the heels of the @Anon_Operation (link to suspended page) Twitter account posting a link to MasterCard credit card numbers according to the Huffington Post.
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Legitimacy

I’ve written previously on this blog about why I feel that the option to ‘get verified’ should be available to all users on Twitter. I’ve also made it clear that I believe that, with some exceptions, anonymity on the internet needs to end.

On Tuesday, Bill Gates finally joined Twitter, and was almost immediately verified by @caroline. That’s fine and to be expected – like him or loathe him, Bill Gates is a big deal, and with parodies and impostors still common on Twitter (including Gates himself, who has made several illegitimate appearances) it makes sense to verify the very famous very quickly.

Twitter AnonymityCertainly, common or garden Twitter proles such as you and I shouldn’t expect this kind of first-class treatment from Biz Stone at al. But picking up from what I said previously, those of us who wish to be taken seriously on Twitter – and, indeed, the internet – should expect to (eventually) be provided with a way to confirm that our account is genuine. That, yes, we are a real person, we are who we say we are, and we’re prepared to be fully accountable for the things that we say.

It’s all about legitimacy.

It’s easier to verify a celebrity than it is a regular person. Celebrities have agents and managers, and lots of people who can vouch for them, including other celebrities. Regular people don’t have those luxuries, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve the same rights.

What I’d like to see on Twitter – and down the line, across the entire internet – is a way for each and every one of us to get verified. If you use Paypal, you’ll know that becoming verified on Paypal is an important part of the process. It helps to build trust within the Paypal community, and provides an element of safety to others when they are engaging in transactions with you. Paypal, as the middleman, provides that guarantee.

I want to see this on Twitter. It may have to be an entirely different system to the current verification process (which, let’s face it, was tailor-made for celebrities and brands), but there needs to be a way for me to ID myself with Twitter and get my account authorised.

One easy way to do this would be to implement verification as a step in Twitter’s widely-anticipated premium account business model. By paying for Twitter, you’re already making the decision that the network is important to you, and likely using it as a business tool yourself, so getting verified, and making yourself legitimate, is absolutely worth its weight.

Using Paypal’s example as a guide, Twitter could easily ID check your account by matching up your bank account or credit card with your profile. And once done, once you’ve been verified, you get the seal of approval, and the trust and safety it provides to others.

And it doesn’t matter if you share the same name with somebody else on Twitter, or a hundred different people. Twitter isn’t verifying your name – they’re verifying your identity. They’re saying to everybody who visits your profile and interacts with you that this is a real person, and more importantly, that they’re exactly who they say they are.

Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous or doesn’t feel that becoming verified is important to them would simply opt out of the process. None of this would be forced. It would simply be available as a facility for those that desired legitimacy. Of course, it would be impossible for bots and most spammers to get verified, and it’s unlikely that trolls, stalkers and good old-fashioned weirdos would take the risk, so while the option to remain unverified would always (and would have to) be available, you would do so knowing the consequences, inasmuch as who you are grouping yourself with.

Furthermore, if Twitter really wants to fashion itself as part of your online identity, accurate verification on Twitter could very easily lead to accurate verification everywhere else, too.

This is coming. If it isn’t started by Twitter, it’ll be started by Facebook. And once the push towards online legitimacy begins, it’ll be impossible to stop. And for this Twitterer, it cannot come fast enough.

With Social Media, You’re Always On Camera

Social media is the virtual Big Brother. You get involved, you get comfortable, you get complacent, and suddenly you forget that you’re on camera 24/7, 365 days a year.

It’s very easy to make a mistake. We all do it. Everybody slips up from time to time.

Solution: be smart about who you invite into your online communities. If you’re mixing business (employer, associates, clients) with pleasure (friends, family, relationships) on the same network it’s disturbingly easy for something to go wrong. And even if you’re the very epitome of decorum, somebody else can very easily ruin things for you. This doesn’t have to be intentionally malicious – an innocent act like sharing a photograph where you perhaps don’t come off particularly well can do major damage to your status and reputation.

(This is particularly true on Facebook. Pay careful attention to your privacy settings.)

Twitter is an open network, and as such it doesn’t lend itself to being overly personal or bold. Be yourself, but be the best version of who that is. With more and more employers using social media to research job candidates, you cannot afford to be casual. Doing something stupid on the internet isn’t just for Christmas: it’s for life.

I’m not a fan of online anonymity, particularly in the comment sections of websites. But if you’re concerned about the implications of your personal life impacting on your professional it might be the right thing to do. You may also wish to consider protecting your updates on Twitter.

(It’s worth noting that both of these measures will likely have a negative impact on your potential to do business within social media.)

Let me be clear: it’s absolutely fine to friend your boss. Broadening your relationship beyond the limitations of the office can actually enhance your career. Enjoy the company of your colleagues? Want to impress your clients? Go ahead and friend them online.

But here’s the thing: you can never, ever forget that you’re being watched. All of the time.

Anonymity On The Internet Needs To End

You’ve probably been following the drama that occurred between Mike Arrington of TechCrunch and Leo Laporte on an episode of The Gilmor Gang on Laporte’s TWiT.tv network.

Earlier today, Robert Scoble opened a discussion about this issue on Friendfeed. You can read it here – be warned, there are some 744 comments, and like any huge thread on Friendfeed, it’s a laborious process to follow.

This is the incident in a nutshell. Laporte had a new Palm Pre on his show, and Arrington asked if he paid for it. Leo replied that he did not and that it was a ‘one-week review unit’, which means that after seven days you’re meant to return it. Laporte then, rightly or wrongly, assumed Arrington was implying that his opinion on the Pre was compromised, and went ballistic.

Thanks to this very popular YouTube snippet of the incident, it was quickly all over the internet and large conversations began to take place on Friendfeed, Twitter, Laporte’s IRC chat room, and Techcrunch itself.

The latter was where most of the damage was done – many commentators, mostly anonymous, chose to attack Arrington repeatedly, and many threats and allegations were made. Arrington has heavily edited his ‘Ouch’ post on several occasions, but still intact is his reference to an incident that occurred at a conference in Munich earlier this year, where somebody walked up to him and deliberately spat in his face. After the spat with Laporte, who has a very strong following, Arrington was the recipient of a lot of negative and overly hostile comments on his blog and around the internet. (He mentioned at one point that TechCrunch deleted over 600 of these comments).

Here’s the thing: Arrington and Laporte are both well-seasoned pros and should have known better. I think they share equal blame for their behaviour on the show, and it’s to their credit that they’ve mostly resolved their differences (although Arrington has done a few strange things in the aftermath, such as deleting TechCrunch’s Friendfeed account, which has subsequently been recreated in an unofficial capacity.)

The problem here isn’t these guys – it’s the reaction. And it isn’t that the public doesn’t have a right to respond and comment on issues like this. That’s unavoidable, and if you’re a public figure, which Arrington is, certainly in the tech world, then you have to expect the good with the bad. If you do something that makes people unhappy, then expect to be called out on it. I don’t think Mike would assume otherwise.

The problem lies with anonymous feedback. Anybody can be a big hero and call somebody else a POS when they’re hiding behind a proxy and an alias. What does that prove? What does that mean? Nothing.

Dickwad Theory

I’m all for having a strong opinion, and voicing it. As long as they’re not defamatory or outright lies, I’m 100 per cent behind freedom of speech when it comes to those opinions. But if you have something to say, then you need to stand up and be counted. You need to accept that for your comment to matter – for it to mean something – it needs to be backed up with a verifiable account. We need to know it is you making that statement.

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