At its height, the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous was the bane of Scientologists, the FBI, CIA, Mastercard, Paypal, Middle Eastern dictatorships, and in its latest effective iterations, even ISIS.
But in recent years, Anonymous has all but disappeared. It leaves a legacy: It single-handedly brought back the Guy Fawkes mask as a true symbol of civil disobedience, was the obvious inspiration for the hit TV show Mr. Robot, and is also associated with all sorts of more nefarious and negative aspects of trolling culture. In its wake, hacktivism hasn’t dried up altogether, either, with entities like Phineas Fisher still making headlines and taking up its mantle as an online vigilante force challenging the powerful.
This week on CYBER we have Biella Coleman, a professor of anthropology at McGill University in Montreal who wrote the comprehensive book on the group—Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous—to talk about what became of the infamous collective.