Hackers Evolve in We Are Legion - 2012-10-17
Future anthropologists might describe the first 10 years of widespread Internet use as a decade defined by the embarrassment of coming to terms with a new mass technology. Because embarrassed is how even the adventurous could sometimes feel: Am I doing it right? Are you sitting in your basement trolling for fun? Nerd. Are you green enough to be offended by a little trolling? Loser. A significant portion of early online communication involved everyone telling everyone else to get a life.
In We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, former Frontline producer Brian Knappenberger's fascinating, incisive social history of the online network known as Anonymous, those early grapplings are the source of a strange and amorphous moral awakening. That awakening occurred within a nascent society with its own culture (with trolling its first art form), language ("lulz"and "moralfag" being two coinages), value system (freedom of expression and information above all), and sense of identity (where anonymity is claimed as a collective sensibility, political position, and moral imperative). Having aspired only to the expression of unmitigated id, its members began to discover and develop their power to effect real-world change along with good-time plunder.