Anonymous Can't Agree on BART Protests and Hacking Tactics

Categories: Tech
rsz_anonymousbart.JPG
An Anonymous protesting Anonymous.
This is the week of all Anonymous all the time in San Francisco. With one protest that shut down four BART stations, and two major hacking incidents of BART websites, the irascible online collective has shown that it can compel a very real-life response: Cops in riot gear, hovering helicopters, BART's accusations of being low-down "cyberthugs," and pissed-off commuters who just want to get the hell home. 

Yet some of the harshest criticisms of Anonymous actually came from within its  own ranks.
Since anyone can be a part of the Anonymous movement, there is little cohesive ideology to rally around. From talking to some Anonymous members both at Monday's protest and online in the days since -- or heck, just checking their Twitter feeds and message boards  -- it's clear that Anonymous "members" diverge greatly on what is an effective protest of BART.

Some say the whole BART cause is petty to begin with, showing Anonymous to be "
spoiled hipsters that have more time and money on their hands than they know what to do with." Others say this shows Anonymous to be powerful force in the face of censorship of free speech. And then some believe the group is shooting themselves in the foot by hacking into BART's computer system.

We're going to feature some of the conversations here on the Snitch. We'll start with this man who we saw at the Civic Center BART Station during Monday's protest, holding a sign reading "What happened, Anonymous? You used to be cool" in front of his face. Hmm ... provocative. We approached. 

Strangely enough, he had sunglasses on with big eyebrows pasted over them. He was Anonymous! An internal dissenter. 
rsz_hissyfit.JPG
The other side of the dissenter's sign. Hiss.
 
So what's with the sign? 

"There are so many more legitimate targets to be choosing [than BART], and really they're embarrassing themselves without realizing it. The people falling for this sort of action [hacking into BART's website and exposing people's information] are doing themselves more harm than good." 

Why more harm than good?

 "On the level of public relations it's a nightmare. They're making themselves look foolish and impotent, and that's not something anyone should be involved with. I think they're probably driving more people away. It's a bit of smokescreen from addressing the legitimate targets they should be addressing." 

Do you think BART should be able to turn off cell-phone service?

 "I have no problem with that. It's a recent development that people have the notion that people feel they have a right to cell-phone reception on private property. They should have been protesting the Muni chief getting a golden parachute of $350,000 dollars, they should have been protesting things like that. But this just makes them look silly."

Are you still involved in other Anonymous projects?

"I am, but I'm not going to get into that. I was a hardcore punk in the early '80s then got into animal rights, and I've been doing direct action for about 30 years. For the sake of sounding and feeling old, this is really kind of pathetic. This is not what I was fighting for in those years. We were fighting things like Reagan and Iran Contra and legitimate targets. It's a travesty. It plays into people's stereotypes, too, of spoiled hipsters that have more time and money on their hands than they know what to do with."

So Anonymous aren't spoiled hipsters?

"There is that element. They're more visible than is wise. If they are trying to remain Anonymous, they're not doing a great job of it."

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11 comments
Kit Vaq
Kit Vaq

Lauren Smiley wrote an accurate portrayal here that reflects how most commuters and most of the public feel about Anonymous.  The public really doesn't take this group seriously because of their ever changing and immature antics and demands.  They come across as amateurs who could care less about being truly effective in their message.  Yes, they do keep shooting themselves in the foot and alienating and annoying those who might support them.  The individual who Lauren Smiley interviewed is correct on the points covered.  And no one has limited Anonymous' free speech.  They're still speaking out whether they have their cell phones or not.

NoReply
NoReply

Hey Lauren Smiley and ALL other news reporters that try to say that all people at the protest are members of their org--when all they were doing was up holding free speech and ending police brutality by being there in the first place--some only once! All I have to say to you all is--You NEED an enema for your BRAINS to say all are members just because they joined in on a protest --is INSANE!

NoReply
NoReply

The Media must STOP lying to the public--to say that all of the people at the protests are organizers of this org--is simply NUTS!

NoReply
NoReply

NOT ALL of the protestors are WITH this organization--the Snitch acting STUPID!

KaliManitou
KaliManitou

I've seen Lauren Smiley standing about right before the protest and breaking with the rest of the people who didn't do more than sneering in dis-belief to go over to interview this guy, who btw was scared or fidgety or had some disease, and shaking behind his 'nut&bolt fortified' sign. The young Lauren, in her haste to get 'something' that would satisfy her assignment, completely disregards the crucial point: is this guy anonymous? So how would she try to find out? Anybody who had journalism 101 knows that to find out who you talking to, you ask for the message. Right after the douchebag says "There are so many more legitimate targets to be choosing", you ask: "What are they?"  His answer to this question would tell a lot more than his bs rant , Mr."hardcore punk in the early '80s" , well now you are a troll-impostor, bottom of the barrel.But the real focus of my anger is towards tools like Lauren, who start their careers already corrupted. They are not interested in truth but a little sensationalism. No vision, no conviction but a paycheck... what a miserable impotence that must be.    

Crappy Tires
Crappy Tires

Hi,

I think people forget to mention that Anonymous conducted a protest in memory of those killed due to Police brutality. @YourAnonNews:twitter sent the original tweet, and I can verify that he did it in their memory, not just about the cell phone issue..

Have you guys missed Op Feed the homeless? Figured, media would miss that.  If your in the Anon rooms, you'll know who I am....

We are AnonymousWe are LegionWe do not support EVERY action by EVERY member.

Crappy Tires

Siccsudo
Siccsudo

I also agree, the media is trying to put the public against anon from the begining. Who runs the media?

Siccsudo

real anon
real anon

HHey loser. Go back to animal rights , your a joke, nobody likes you

- the real anonymous

Twitter
Twitter

TThis is a really bad news story. The person they interviewed obviously missed the point . He admitted he doesn't care about being bullied, he doesn't care about free speak, he will allow cell phone service to be turned off. What a moron! Seriously , he isn't even a part of anonymous , he wants attention, that's all. BART is not private, its *.gov shows how intelligent he is. Clearly he lacks skills too lulz

Joe
Joe

I agree...I believe anonymous is actual doing a good thing!!

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

"Seriously , he isn't even a part of anonymous..."

*Facepalm*

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