Monday, February 20, 2012

Dear Ms. Richmond,
I thought your article on Lulz Security was a very interesting one. I followed the story of Anonymous and in particular Bradley Manning with some interest last year, so it was nice to have an update on the particular going-on’s of recent hacking groups. I must say the implications of what hacking groups like “Anonymous” and “Lulzsec” mean is both frightening and encouraging all at once. In a world going digital, the methods of protest and subversive behavior in general are changing altogether. One thing that these hacking groups and websites like Wikileaks have undoubtedly proven is the power that has been afforded to the people.

In this respect, it’s encouraging when I hear about this power being used to support things that I agree with, like the democratic uprisings in the Middle East and anticorruption protests in India. For me, this is the best of what this new subversive power affords us, and can really unite people for a cause worldwide. However, I am also well aware that there are bigger issues at stake here, like who makes the decisions on what to do with that power once it is obtained. That’s where it gets really messy, and I think the ending of your article which highlighted the in-house fighting within Lulzsec really emphasizes that.

Lastly, I found it really interesting when you said that criminal activity is making a shift towards the digital world. It reminds me of a basic concept that is taught in many sociology classes which is that “crime pays”. When looking at the amount of crimes committed in a society like the U.S. versus the amount of arrests, it reveals that most criminals actually get away with the crimes committed. Hence the saying, crime pays. With this in mind, I wonder if this saying will turn out to be even more exaggerated in the digital realm, because it certainly seems to be the case.(Just for the record, I’m not considering turning to a life of crime).

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