Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Facing Real-World Violence, Anonymous Backs Down From Drug Cartel

The hacking troupe Anonymous has apparently decided to call off a planned campaign to out associates of the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. The campaign had been set to begin on Nov. 5.

In a weird sort of mash-up of villains, one decidedly more evil than the other, a Mexican affiliate of Anonymous Veracruz announced that it was going to start publishing the names and addresses of the cartel’s business associates in response to the kidnapping of an Anonymous member. Anonymous had accused taxi drivers, police officers and journalists of being Zeta “servants.”

Of course, the publication of that information would give an advantage to rival cartels, who would probably have them whacked. According to a report on Stratfor, the Zetas had taken the threat seriously enough that the cartel dispatched its own computer experts to track down the people behind various anti-cartel blogs. A few people have been killed.

Having hassled Sony over the summer, attacked targets as varied as NATO and the U.S. Senate, and posted the addresses of state cops in Arizona, all Anonymous seems to have accomplished is getting some of its lesser members arrested.

TalkingPointsMemo has a pretty good rundown. Basically, it comes down to this: Anonymous didn’t have the stomach for real-world violence.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik