Many times on this site, I have railed against online "hacktivists." Quite a few people have been critical of me for doing it, claiming that I must be a mean old Grinch who hates freedom-fighting and justice. So when we finally see a hacktivist group in the harsh light of day, without being shrouded in cyberpunk romanticism, it just makes me smile all the sweeter.
Four British members of LULZsec have begun serving relatively light sentences for various cyber-vandal crimes. Far from the Robin Hoods that websites like Boing Boing, Reddit, and 4chan like to characterize them as, they are revealed to be the same breed of petty thugs that steal your hubcaps and set fire to your trash cans.
Now for the fun part: The defense's pleas for the LULZsec members paints a picture that perfectly matches the way I imagined them:
- Claiming every psychological disease in the book, all the time.
- Oh, and also mommy and daddy didn't love them enough.
- Socially isolated.
- No clear idea or goal. Waffling between "let's have some fun dude!" and "I'm Batman!"
- Arrogant in their ignorance.
Of course, the troll legion (who has my site on speed-dial) will insist that because I'm anti-LULZsec, I must be pro-Westboro-Baptist-Church (one of their targets) forgetting that I can dislike both equally. Two trolls do not make a citizen. Ditto Sony, a company I will always condemn. I condemned the presidency of GWB too, but you'll notice I didn't get arrested for committing any crimes against him.
I will say it again: Hacktivism HURTS THE CAUSES IT PROPOSES TO HELP. Now that LULZsec has gotten themselves busted like a meth lab, they have given credibility and honor to their targets. WBC and Sony can now point to themselves as victims, leveraging this case for the further abuses of the legal system they have in mind.