LulzSec, Anonymous, ICE, FBI and users

I this post, and some future posts, I plan to discuss several different entities and how they are currently impacting web usage, some potential future impacts and how users fit in with all of this. First I’ll talk about the users and then talk a little bit about each of the other entities and some of the current activities.

For users, I think every one is aware of the broad range of types of people on the internet. You have your grandma and grandpa who only use the internet for email, or I’ll these users novices. Then you have the more sophisticated users, which use various chat programs and may look at different websites and get their news, these are basic users. Intermediate users and basic users kind of blur together they’ll probably user online games, both paid games and simple online games like yahoo games etc. Next there are Advanced users. These people are consumers of content and may create some. They are probably also aware of how to create websites and pretty technically savvy people. Then you have the Power users. People that use massive amounts of content, create their own content and spread large amounts of information over sites like 4chan, reddit, digg, and various other Web 2.0 sites. These users are typically well aware of what’s going on with these four groups I listed above. These groups do not have hard and fast end points, it’s more of a continuum. In some cases it’s difficult to tell the difference from an advanced user and a power user.

So why are the Power users, and some advanced users, aware of the activities of these groups more than other people? In some cases these power users are actually involved in Anonymous, or actively support the action of the members of Anonymous. Ok, is that a good or bad things? Well, that’s a really difficult question to answer.  I can only answer that by explaining who and what Anonymous is.

Anonymous came about from the chat rooms of 4chan, and similar groups such as that. I’m sure there are many other sources that I’m completely unaware of, probably IRC(Internet Relay Chat). But what do they do? Well, partially they are a response to the governmental responses to Wikileaks, an organization devoted to safely leaking government or business related information (whistle blower site). They decided to attack, through a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) (Which basically take a website offline), websites that didn’t want to work with Wikileaks, like PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and Amazon. However, it has since escalated to include many governmental agencies. Such as the US government and other organizations. This wouldn’t really be that big of a problem if it was just DDoS, which are illegal but short lived. They also started to hack companies and steal information.

So who is ICE and why do I care about them? Well, ICE is the US commerce department. The same people that are in charge of the US boarders. Some how, they have been given broad authorization to target websites that are either streaming or directly distributing copyrighted material. They do this through seizing websites. Which has been considered very questionable under constitutional authority. See the picture below for an example of a website seized by ICE.

ICE Seizure web page

Well, I still don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. They could be going after child pornography or shutting down those pirating websites. You know, those are good points. ICE, accidentally shut down a few websites, wrongly claiming the accused was distributing child porn. These were actual businesses that were shut down due to this. 
Well, this post has gotten rather long. So tomorrow, I’ll post about LulzSec and the FBI and hopefully discuss how all four of these groups intersect with each other. As a teaser, all four of these groups feel that they are fighting over the control and structure of the internet.

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