In a recent attack on the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s website that lasted several weeks, large amounts of personal data were released about individual police officers and the site was, at times, taken offline. Claiming responsibility, communiqués from the hacker group Anonymous announced the site was hacked in opposition to Arizona’s controversial anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070 which criminalizes being in the U.S. without immigration papers. The attack is but one in a string of well-publicized crusades against abusive power.
What’s the Big Idea?
The activist-hacker groups Anonymous and LulzSec typically claim there is a moral motivation behind their attacks on government and corporate websites. The language used in defense of their actions is often “strident, hyperbolic, witty, and purposeful—a rallying cry designed to appeal equally to computer geeks, members of the media and disenchanted liberals and libertarians.” But others wonder whether their righteous language cloaks lazier intentions: Their targets are chosen more for being vulnerable than for their moral transgressions.