‘Operation Black October’ is a new campaign launched by the hacktivist group Anonymous. In a video posted on YouTube, the group urges people around the world to stop using banking services for the whole month (Das 2015). This “peaceful revolution” aims to demonstrate the collective strength and independence of the 99% from the corrupt global financial system (Das 2015).
‘Operation Black October’ is just one of a plethora of politically motivated campaigns that have spurred Anonymous’s remarkable transformation in the public imagination from “feared Internet folk devils into digital warriors of justice” (Coleman 2014, cited in Chen 2014). What started out as the ‘Internet Hate Machine’ has evolved into one of the most organised, technically skilled and socially aware activist groups operating today (Chen 2014).
Despite being a “force for good in the world” (Coleman 2014, cited in Chen 2014), characterising Anonymous as cyber-libertarian is problematic. While cyber-libertarians fight for the freedom to individually prosper, Anonymous fights for freedom from systemic inequalities created by oppressive nation-states (Jurgenson & Rey 2014, p.2657).
Unlike cyber-libertarians who have historically viewed the Internet as an unregulated space that allows for gains in individual freedom and empowerment, cyber-anarchists see the Internet as a means of abolishing all hierarchies (Jurgenson & Rey 2014, p.2657). In the case of ‘Operation Black October’, Anonymous aims to disrupt the technology infrastructure of established financial institutions for the 99%. This in stark contrast to cyber-libertarians such as Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO’s, Eric Schmidt, who fight for an environment of enforced transparency, not to make the world a better place, but ultimately for their own financial gain.
Chen, A 2014, ‘The Truth About Anonymous’s Activism’, The Nation, 11 November, accessed 11 October 2015, <https://www.thenation.com/article/truth-about-anonymouss-activism/>.
Das, S 2015, ‘Anonymous targets the U.S. banking system with operation ‘Black October’, Hacked, 29 September, accessed 11 October 2015, <https://hacked.com/anonymous-targets-u-s-banking-system-operation-black-october/>.
Jurgenson, N & Rey, PJ 2014, ‘Liquid Information Leaks’, International Journal of Communication, vol.8, p.2651-2664.