Suchitra Rau Monday, 22 June 2020

The Movement Behind the Mask

What started out as a joke on 4chan (an app that lets people post anonymously), this group is now an international movement that stands for activism through hacking, going by the name of "Anonymous". Though widespread, its members are united by the Guy Fawkes masks that they wear as a symbolism of being outcasts, while hailed as heroes, just as is in the movie V for Vendetta. Initially, this group was known for trolling various internet forums. However, they gained public attention when they pranked radio-show host Hal Turner, costing him thousands of dollars, a move that later made this group decide that hacktivism should be used for the greater good.

Through the years, Anonymous has mobilized movements for freedom of speech to a greater extent; they have helped shut down 1500 child pornography sites on the dark web and have organized the Million Mask March that saw demonstrations happening worldwide. This group stands for "freedom and transparency", and through their movements, have time and again proven how the government probably is not all that they claim to be. They had fought against numerous governments, such as the Australian government, while taking down the prime minister's website when the government imposed censorship. Anonymous had become a household name in the early 2010s but lost popularity towards the end of that decade.

Recently, with the unjust killing of George Floyd, Anonymous rose to fame again when they came out with a chilling video against the Minneapolis Police Department, calling out all the lives that had been brutally taken away by the police of the state. Following this, they took down websites of the Minneapolis Police and other official websites of the city. With the majority of the nation fighting for equal rights, most people were seen favoring Anonymous and standing against the corruption and violence of the police. Through the course of the video, the man behind the mask proved how the actions of the police were not intended to keep citizens safe, rather to oppress them. Anonymous declared that justice was to be served, and revenge would be taken.

This group has also been the cause of some high-profile, controversial accusations. On the 31st of May, Anonymous uploaded documents against President Donald Trump and Jeffery Epstein, calling out their pedophilia, and multiple cases of rape and sexual assault. They also claimed to have evidence that the British Family had Princess Diana murdered after she found out about a certain sex-trafficking ring and the family's involvement in the same.

Over the years, this group has helped in liberation and in the propagation of freedom of individuals, while taking a stand against the wrongful doings of several governments. With all the struggle and disorder that the world is facing today, maybe this group of hacktivists turned out to be the heroes we did not think we needed, but the heroes that we deserved.