Now that the FBI has lopped off a few of Anonymous’ tentacles, expect the US government to begin an aggressive legal, rhetorical and national brainwashing campaign to classify hacktivists as terrorists.
FBI director Robert Mueller has even made comments to that effect at both a January Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a San Francisco cyber-security conference populated with private business interests.
“In the not too distant future, we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the #1 threat to our country,” said Mueller at the conference. “We need to take lessons learned from terrorism and apply them to cyber crime.”
The reality of the post-9/11 world, and the abuse of the Patriot Act, is evolving national security into that which we always feared: A means of silencing individuals and groups outside of Islamo-fascist terrorism, who are attempting to break down the monolithic collusion between politicians, bankers and big business, both domestically and internationally.
In the near future, a hacker who attempts a DDoS attack or leaks hacked information to digitally protest a bank, a corporation or the US government might soon be classed as a “terrorist.”
Mueller added, “we must work together to safeguard our property, to safeguard our ideas and safeguard our innovation. We must use connectivity to stop those who seek to do us harm.”
Translation: The government and private industry must get even further into bed with one another. Fear, after all, is a good way to make money. No doubt Mr. Mueller and other FBI agents will be able to make a smooth and lucrative transition to the private sector after they’ve finished serving the country.
To be fair, Mueller isn’t strictly referring to rogue hackers like Anonymous but calling for a wider effort to fight to cyber attacks launched by Chinese hackers against US government or corporations, for instance. He was also addressing the various forms of online fraud, which the FBI is most suited to combat (see: Operation Ghost Click). That said, Chinese hacking and online fraud should not be defined as “terrorism” merely because we happen live in a post-9/11 world. The former is cyber espionage, and the latter is cyber fraud. These crimes should not become synonymous with the violent, theatrical tactics of Al Qaeda.
And to class Anonymous (or any hacktivist and online protester who only wants to create a more peaceful and economically stable and fair world) as a “terrorist” is fear-mongering rhetoric at its finest, and thus completely despicable.
When a government is given the sort of power that it accumulated after 9/11, this type of redefinition occurs. The dissident becomes the other, the enemy. He or she becomes equated with the real enemy—in America’s case, Islamo-Fascism. This much power should never have been granted to our government and its spy agencies (FBI, NSA, CIA).
Actually, Anonymous despises radical Islamic terrorists just as much as the most patriotic American. They were involved, for instance, in the Arab Spring. None of this matters to our government, though.
The frightening reality we must face is that our government, a government financed by corporations, wants to preserve the status quo, and will stop at nothing to make sure hacktivists face sentences equivalent to the real terrorsts—delusional, religious fanatics who have killed thousands.
As Mueller himself stated, “Together we must find a way to stop the bleeding.”
Together, the US federal government and private business will form a partnership to ensure the long-standing incestuous relationship endures. Nothing could be so important, no?