For Immediate Distribution
May 6, 2011
Anonymous Holdings LLC (Bermuda)
Today, an article appeared in Financial Times making the case for Anonymous’ alleged involvement in the heist of some hundred million user accounts from Sony, a crime which is now being investigated by Congress, the Justice Department, and other entities. The piece has already been widely referenced and is being used by many who oppose Anonymous for various reasons as proof that those who participate in the collective are responsible for that heist. Unfortunately, the article is problematic for a variety of reasons.
1. One of the two reporters who contributed to the article, Joseph Menn, has previously written on Anonymous in what he and Financial Times also considered to be a scoop. The resulting piece, “Hackers Warned of Arrest,” used HBGary CEO Aaron Barr as the only quoted source. Barr claimed that he had identified various “leaders” of Anonymous, referring to a participant who went by “Q” at the time as the “co-founder” of the movement. As it turned out later, Barr had believed this because Q had created a channel in Anonops.irc called #Anonymous a few months prior. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with internet culture could have easily refuted this key assertion by Barr, and in fact many immediately did so; Menn, on the other hand, did not bother to do the research that would have led him to realize that Anonymous was not founded at all, much less co-founded by Q. Much else reported by Menn was similarly incorrect, such as Barr’s assertion that Q was looking for a replacement for a server administrator who goes by the name “Owen,” who was himself allegedly forced to “curtail” his activities. In fact, Owen has not been replaced at all and has remained just as active as usual for the five months since Barr used Menn to promote his hilarious “research.” This failure of a news article may be seen here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/87dc140e-3099-11e0-9de3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1LbP3MAFP
2. Today’s article is entitled, “Hackers Admit Anonymous Likely Behind Sony Attack.” That assertion is backed by interviews with two individuals, one being Kayla, who participated in the infiltration of HBGary after Menn provided Barr with the opportunity to make his claims. Kayla tells Menn that “If you say you are Anonymous, and do something as Anonymous, then Anonymous did it.” Meaning that anyone who calls himself Anonymous is Anonymous and thus the collective is responsible for the act in question. This is not the definition of Anonymous that was used by Menn when reporting on Anonymous originally, when Barr’s investigation centered on the Anonops server from which much of our activities are carried out. Nor is it the definition used by law enforcement officials, whose investigations have long centered on Anonops for that very reason. Nonetheless, Financial Times is suddenly using a broader definition of Anonymous – one that includes the hundreds of thousands of people who refer to themselves as Anonymous despite having no connection to any of the actions attributed to the group – in order to support its “scoop” to the effect that Anonymous was indeed responsible. In fact, FT reports elsewhere in the article that “US law enforcement agencies are already looking closely at Anonymous;” obviously the FBI is not looking at hundreds of thousands of people, but rather those operating out of a few nodes of activity. Although there is no set definition of Anonymous, those referring to the movement should stick with a single one rather than changing it as necessary in order to support a flimsy article, and then changing it again within that very article.
3. The other individual quoted is referred by Menn and his co-writer as an “Anonymous member” even though there is no way to verify that the individual is truly a participant in Anonymous, rather than someone who is pretending to be so in order to discredit those who are actually involved in our activities. The person claimed to FT that “he saw technical details of a vulnerability in Sony’s network that enabled the break-in discussed on an Anonymous chatroom, shortly before the intrusion.” Thus it is that the main piece of supporting evidence for a major allegation that is someone who is believed to be in the know by a journalist who has previously failed to determine who is in the know claims that someone else posted something that he claims to be related to the hack. Here, then, is the article that has prompted the storyline that is alleged to prove Anonymous’ guilt: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d0a21040-7800-11e0-b90e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1LUp3BgsI
We do not forget. Seriously, why is Menn still permitted to write about significant criminal matters?