Did Anonymous go too far by hacking BART?

Posted by David Gomez

Many people have mixed feelings about the hacker collective known as Anonymous. Their newest display of hacktivism against the BART system’s website only makes the group look, well, rather silly.

I admire Anonymous for having the guts to speak truth to power, even if it is from the safety of their computer screens at home. However, its attack on San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system should have everyone questioning what their real motivation is.
    
Now I wonder if they are trying to help or if they are trying to accelerate America’s decline into a police state.
    
As I’m sure you know there are calls to basically lock down the Internet via the PROTECT IP Act. They say it’s about protecting intellectual property and halting the economic damage from Internet piracy, but anyone with half a brain who can read knows it’s really about restricting free speech.
    
But many people are against restricting free speech on the Internet so the PROTECT IP isn’t as popular as our controllers would like it be.
    
Yet the Internet is where Anonymous carries out their work.
    
Why does that matter? Well that’s where their hacking of the BART system’s website comes into play.
    
We covered it earlier today and now the question I have is: Why did Anonymous release the personal data of innocent, nonpolitical users of the BART system?
    
I mean, I’ve always had my doubts about Anonymous, but it wasn’t until this morning when I came across an op-ed piece on Activist Post that I really began to question Anonymous’ motivation for carrying out their acts of hacktivism.
    
How could they have believed releasing the personal info of innocent bystanders would in any way stop the thuggish public officials who operate BART? It doesn’t make any sense to me.
    
Releasing that information doesn’t help the cause of liberty and it makes me think Anonymous is kind of dumb, or even worse, not who they say they are.
    
I think that Anonymous could possibly be a group of younger people who let the coolness of being associated with Anonymous overshadow that the fact that the BART hacking was just plain silly.
    
I also wouldn’t be surprised if Anonymous had somehow been infiltrated by a government agency and was simply being used as an asset to make the Internet seem like a digital danger zone full of opportunistic hackers looking to wage war on our way of life.
    
Actions like these from Anonymous almost make it seem like they are trying to help the cause of those who want to turn the Internet in a police state zone. Did they even consider what could possibly happen if the BART system’s users info got into the hands of some more malicious and criminal minded hackers?
    
If Anonymous really is who they say they are, then they need to step back and rethink their strategy. I know that this is a difficult time and governments can pretty much control protesters in many different ways, but these low level hackings aren’t cutting it.
    
Anonymous needs to go big or go home. Stop with the trivial stuff and show the public you are serious about affecting change.

I’m starting to think that maybe they’re just looking for some cheap thrills.
    
BART officials expect more antics from Anonymous and there is a physical protest scheduled today at the BART facility, but we’ll see how that goes. It would seem foolish for anyone to show up unless it was in a group so large that no one could control.
    
But then with all of the riots recently that might be an even worse idea.
    
I’m not saying that people should be afraid of standing up for what they believe in, but you have to be smart about it. Read up on some sensible tactics and then get back at it if you must.
    
Anonymous needs to stop with the stupid releasing of personal data and strike at the heart in a serious manner. If they can’t think of a better way to do things then maybe they aren’t as cool we might have thought they were.
    
They use of the mask of V from V for Vendetta as their symbol, yet they do not have the intensity or smarts of their symbolic hero. It makes me wonder if they’ve been corrupted by the very forces they claim to fight against.
    
It looks like Anonymous is just another convenient bad guy for the power elite, whether they are actually associated with each other or not.