Hi there! :)
First off I want to give a big shout out and thanks to Zorgarath, who graciously invited me to post my miscellaneous ramblings here. And to be clear, my goal is not to have everyone agree with me (like that'd ever happen anyway). I try my best to make my points compelling when I write on my own blog or for other publications, but I encourage anyone to take my logic apart as they see fit. It is really only through such processes where people can really get their teeth into issues they deem important, and most importantly be modestly assured that they're not deluding themselves with bad reasoning. So, here we go.
The Arguments Against #Antisec And Why They Are Missing The Point.
If there's one thing we love on the net it is definitely a healthy dose of controversy, and if nothing else, the Antisec movement is giving us that in droves. Many of the concerns raised by people in the blogosphere, the press, and the general public at large seem reasonable on the surface. The issue it seems to me, is that people are easily apt to polarize the issues that arise.
For instance, there are many who feel that these big data dumps are grossly irresponsible, given that they do indeed out a lot of personal information of individuals, such as account names passwords and the like. Also there are many who voice the real fear that the efforts of such blackhat groups are going to lead us careening into a new era of oligarchic control of the very internet itself.
From my vantage point observing how the press and blogosphere is handling this topic, pretty much all negative concerns people express ultimately devolve into the two main points I bring up above. Given that certain assumptions are true, those concerns raised above may indeed be true. I think however one needs to examine the assumptions behind those concerns more carefully before they condemn what is taking place at an ever increasing pace.
The outing of people's personal information sounds like a real serious issue on the surface at least. Given that the idea here is to reveal poor decision making and bad judgement by governments and corporations, it is no wonder that people are inclined to play the sympathy card when those exposed are not corporations or governments. I think the impact of this exposure however is being grossly misrepresented, primarily by a public who just doesn't understand the nature of the world they live in. Let's be frank, our parochial ideas of privacy are an illusion, and have been for quite a long time. For a handful of dollars one can easily and legally find out pretty much anything and everything they'd ever want to know about you anyway. And they can then take this information and do, well, anything they want to with it legal or not. Whether or not anyone would actually care to do this is another matter entirely. So, in reality, these exposures are near non-issues from a personal safety and privacy standpoint, unless of course, you do genuinely have things to hide. If this is so, then you can thank the blackhats for revealing the simple fact that you placed your trust in organizations that either can not or simply will not protect you. Real criminals wouldn't reveal anything, and you'd be finding out about how masterfully you were hacked and socially engineered months down the road when your checks start bouncing. You have been done a favor, so just realize this.
The other great concern voiced is the seemingly real fear that this sort of activity will foster more oligarchic and draconian levels of control of the internet itself. For these folks, who are apparently not paying attention, we're sort of already there. Due to The Patriot Act, The Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and numerous Federal District Court rulings our ability to exist freely as virtual citizens is drastically curtailed relative to our real citizenry, which isn't doing all that well itself either. There are those that argue the internet needs new laws and different types of restrictions, and we've largely fell for that argument already. It doesn't take a genius to realize we treat offline and online content entirely differently under the law, but apparently it does take some genius to simply ask why we have to treat it differently. We've had copyright law of one type or another, as a for instance, for over two centuries, so why do we need to treat a new medium as a special case? This was tried numerous times before, and it failed. It largely failed before with the introduction of such evil techologies as vinyl records, 8-Track tape, the Cassette tape, and the VCR. So why is it different now? The truth of the matter here is a simple one. Governments and Corporations are looking for every excuse in the book to use the internet as an excuse for greater power grabs than they've been able to pull off in the past. And they've succeeded.
When I look at the two primary concerns people voice over the activities of Antisec, and I put those concerns into my admittedly opinionated perspective, I come to one conclusion. Yes, those concerns voiced are valid ones, but immaterial given the nature of the world we really live in.
Things are that bad. It is time we realized this.