Coffee Talk #368: LulzSec — Internet Heroes or Anarchists?
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Renowned hacker group LulzSec caused quite a stir when it announced its “Chinga La Migra” initiative on Twitter yesterday. Protesting Arizona Senate Bill 1070 — an anti-illegal immigration measure that encourages racial profiling — LulzSec is fighting the power by releasing classified documents on the Internet. Here’s an excerpt from the text accompanying the torrent:
We are releasing hundreds of private intelligence bulletins, training manuals, personal email correspondence, names, phone numbers, addresses and passwords belonging to Arizona law enforcement. We are targeting AZDPS specifically because we are against SB1070 and the racial profiling anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona.
Every week we plan on releasing more classified documents and embarassing personal details of military and law enforcement in an effort not just to reveal their racist and corrupt nature but to purposefully sabotage their efforts to terrorize communities fighting an unjust “war on drugs”.
Opinions on the group’s actions are split. Some are hailing LulzSec for using technology to protest a government that devotes too much attention to big-money issues and too little to social reform issues that impact citizens with little power. Others believe that this is a reckless act masquerading as a non-violent protest; the argument is that these leaked documents will lead to innocent law enforcers being harmed or killed.
I’ve been thinking about the issue for the last day and I’m still torn. On one hand, I love that these guys are using technology to make their voice heard. It’s easy to get the government’s attention when you have millions of lobbying dollars to pay off the right politicians (I’m looking at you Comcast, AT&T, etc.). Politicians are slow to act on issues that lack glamour and money like immigration reform.
On the other hand, I’d hate to see a low-ranking officer get killed because of a leaked document. I can’t imagine that everyone that works for the Arizona Department of Public Safety supports SB 1070.
I’d love to get your thoughts on the matter. What do you think of LulzSec’s actions? Are they Internet Robin Hoods or Internet anarchists? Are they fighting for people that can’t fight for themselves? Or are they misguided troublemakers?