Sunday, 14 August 2011

LulzSec, Anonymous … what makes this form of hactivism insidious.

Last week, I published an article:

LulzSec, Anonymous … freedom fighters or the new face of evil?

Since that point I have responded at times more and less frustrated to some of the comments. Mostly, I have been annoyed at the people how do not take the time to seek answers that are readily available to them, but in this, I am making the same error (to a far lesser extent that has driven Anon et. al.)

One individual came up with the comment of equality and this is a common meme when discussing business and capitalism in general. I have used in this post some of the themes and text from these replies to make an answer that I should have from the start.

Here I will seek to do what Anon et. al. have selected as the option to be avoided. I will seek to educate. In this, I will start with explaining why the concept used as rhetoric by Anon et. al. of “fairness” is just that, rhetoric and why this argument is flawed.

Next, I will detail what Anon. et. al could have used as a platform for change if they where not simply acting as petty criminals. That is, if they actually cared for change and wanted to educate and enlighten people and not to simply create fear.

First, it was noted in one of the more erudite responses that:

"My point was that empowerment is not equal across the board, which raises the obvious questions about equality."
I have to start with stating that life is not fair. It will not ever be fair. There is no such thing as equality. There can never be equality.

Empowerment is not binary and there is not simply one type of empowerment. A person who is empowered in one area may not be empowered in another. Someone with huge advantages in one aspect of their life will have disadvantages in others.

The whole notion of striving for fairness is flawed. There is no universal concept of fair. There is no intrinsic definition of fair. What one person considers fair will always be unfair to another. The whole concept of fairness is flawed. The whole concept of striving for equality is flawed.

We are not equal and we cannot be equal. As I tried to point out, a student with a 150+ IQ from a poor family cannot be directly compared with a rich student who has a 70 IQ. These are not statements of fairness, there is no comparative value for these people to be compared fairly.

Hence the notion of comparative advantage. There is no universal form of empowerment. At best, an individual can make use of the advantages they have been gifted with and minimize their comparative disadvantages.

As I have said, life is not fair. Just wanting something is not a reason to obtain it. A child who wishes to be in NBA star but who has no physical characteristics necessary for that position cannot make that position. You can simply say that this is unfair that this is the nature of our existence.

The world is not competitive because of capitalism, it is competitive as there are limited resources that many people seek to obtain. Many people many want to be the President of the USA, the fact remains that there can only be one such person at a time and there are limited opportunities in one’s life to achieve anything.

Rally against it all you like but nothing will change. The fact is, we live in a world constrained by economic forces and no amount of wishing this was different will create a situation that is any different. The simple answer is that it cannot create this distinction. It is not possible. The world is limited and we simply have to accept that we cannot have all we want. The Earth does not have infinite resources and more critically, we do not lead infinite lives.

To educating people…
Here, I will do the job for Anon et. al. that they should have been doing if they actually cared for the cause they purport to support and had not been simply pubescent thugs intent on causing damage and chaos.

I will show that there are alternatives to PayPal. Attacking PayPal was never the right solution. If you are opposed to how PayPal reacted to WikiLeaks and stopped and withheld payments, the solution was always to go to an alternative.

WikiLeaks could have used any one of many viable alternatives to PayPal.

If you want to attack PayPal, the way to do this would have been to do this in a legally acceptable manner. One that does not create problems for other people with views different to your own. You can stop using a service and use an alternative.

This is freedom. You can respect the wishes and desires of others when also voicing your opinion. You do this by choosing or not choosing PayPal in this instance, not by attacking them through criminal means. Right now, there exist many alternatives to PayPal. Some of these are not in common use now, but will be shortly. Others are existing viable options. Just to name a few I can list off the top of my head:
  • FastSpring
  • MoneyBookers
  • SWReg
  • CertaPay
  • Paymate
  • Xoom
  • PayAlert
  • CCNow
  • OBOPay
  • Google Checkout
I see Google Checkout as a good possibility to replacing PayPal's dominance. It certainly has the resources and although it remains under the radar somewhat right now the projected growth rates are exceeding those of PayPal from the information I have obtained, but they remain small and as they grow this growth will of course also diminish.

Add Facebook to the list soon.

Facebook credit will be publicly available and widely deployed soon. Facebook credit will integrate into many sites offering a non-cash based international currency. I have to say that this is a strong contender for an alternative.

Bit Coin is a digital currency. Bit Coin offers a full peer-to-peer currency solution. P2P transfer of funds is available using methods that can even be untraceable. They're a ways using this technology to transfer funds that cannot be intercepted or stopped.

The argument I keep hearing about how difficult it is to do any of this is short-sighted at best. Their are numerous alternatives. Other than the existing methods that have been around for more than 20 years,, many online alternatives with all the functionality that people are calling for already exist.

Why did Anon. attack and not educate. If they are really the avenging knights that they have claimed to be, should they have gone straight to war againt the systems they oppose instead of using education and enlightenment?

Wikileaks chose PayPal. No one made them choose PayPal. The list of alternatives that I have already given above is extensive but does not even touch on the number of alternative solutions that could've been deployed.

PayPal has competition. The list of competitors that I have listed above is less than 1% of the entrants into this market. Google and Facebook are the 800 pound gorillas that PayPal fears. They are biting at its heels.

That said, there are alternatives available in the marketplace such as Bit Coin that offer solutions to the problems that WikiLeaks faces.

Anonymous and other groups made no effort to point out these alternatives. Instead of using their supposed superior group intellect and telling people what the alternatives are, of informing people, of educating people, anonymous and the other groups have decided to engage in criminal activity.

If they supported the concept of freedom as they purport to and would not simply petty thugs, they would have been able to distribute a message using the technology at hand.

Any group with the capability to notify large groups of people and engage them in criminal activity has the persuasive capacity to educate the same people if they so choose. Anonymous and other groups do not do this. Instead of teaching people that there are alternatives that work well they choose the path of fear and create uncertainty and doubt. Instead of empowering people showing them the alternatives that are available they steal and crush all of our freedoms.
  • Anon. et. al. call it freedom, but what they bring us is a form of violence.
  • Anon. et. it education but what they bring us his ignorance.
Instead of teaching people they propagate ignorance.

1 comment:

Fullur said...

Very well laid out. Thank you.