We Are Legion
The Story of Hacktivists
Anonymous, a “hacktivist” collective, assert themselves as the rulers of the Internet and protectors of free speech; they represent a certain type of chaotic freedom. They claim to have no leader and instead work together as a singular voice. That’s the reason why they refuse to show their faces or give their names. They have been called a wide range of offensive terms, including ‘criminals’ and ‘hackers on steroids’, but they continue to define themselves as a serious political movement that fight for many difference causes. Anonymous believes that it’s a noble thing to be able to stand against censorship and against oppressive governments both at home and abroad. Their tools of preference include disruption and spectacle and have become the face of dissent for human rights groups.
“Hacktivism” is a name that was coined by one of the members of a group called The Cult of the Dead Cow, who were one of the first hacktivist groups along with Electronic Disturbance Theatre. What they did was to design software that people in other countries could use in order to communicate securely with each other even if their government was spying on them.
Hacking originated as humorous pranks at MIT and continues to be a tradition they uphold even today. These pranks then inevitably migrated into engineering and the computer community. Nowadays, hackers make a statement about how information should be treated.
Whether they’re going after powerful organizations like The Church of Scientology, attacking websites like Mastercard, Visa, and Paypal, or stirring up the Egyptians to fight their oppressive government, for Anonymous, at the very core the goal is always to fight for the freedom of expression.
Many of these young hacktivists have been followed, threatened, harassed and even imprisoned and indicted but they continue to hold stubbornly to their beliefs. Through many interviews with some of the current members as well as a number of writers and major players, this documentary traces the amazing evolution and complex history of Anonymous. What started as a group of merry pranksters has turned into a full-blown global movement that is armed with new weapons that are able to provoke civil disobedience in an online world.