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Anonymous: who are they and why are they threatening Trump?

After the death of George Floyd, protests and riots have spread across America, and the group of cyber activists have come out again to take on the establishment.

Captura del vídeo de Anonymous publicado en Facebook sobre la muerte de George Floyd. Mayo 2020.
Anonymous Facebook

The group known as Anonymous has hit the headlines once again, this time as part of their response to the killing of George Floyd while he was in the custody of Minnesota police.

What is Anonymous and where did the name come from?

The group of computer hackers is believed to have been created at the start of the millennium on the back of 4chan, a then-growing hackers forum, and where posts from those without a profile would appear as ‘Anonymous’.

The book and film ‘V for Vendetta’ inspired the Guy Fawkes masks that have become a clear symbol of the group that is believed to comprise of around 1,000 members.

What actions has Anonymous taken?

The current attack on the back of the George Floyd protests has seen the group release alleged secrets surrounding the US government and several celebrities although the expectation is that more is to come as they seek what they perceive as some sort of justice. A list of names has been published under the title "The Little Black Book of Jeffrey Epstein” and they have talked of a direct threat against the US government. President Donald Trump and family is included and he has been threatened that more could come.

Previous actions have been taken against companies or organisations that they have disagreed with. These have included: the governments of Egypt, Australia, Iran and Zimbabwe; PayPal, MasterCard, and other financial institutions that ended their relationships with similarly-driven WikiLeaks; the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas and the Church of Scientology.

Actions include infiltrating the organisation’s systems and rendering them inaccessible, removing and sharing data from them, as well as other methods of causing disruption or embarrassment. There recent hacking of a US government contractor, HB Gary, resulted in them publishing thousands of employee email addresses.

What are Anonymous’ objectives?

A spokesperson for the group said that they are a force for ‘chaotic good’ and described them as ‘a loose band of people who share the same kind of ideals’. A clear definition of their goals are harder to pin down but their actions generally revolve around free speech issues and keeping the Internet as open as possible for all.

They argue that what they do is a digital form of the peaceful protest, although authorities take a very different view, with prison sentences being handed out.


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