Reading Response: Hero or Villain?

November 12, 2017

While reading more about Anonymous and what they do, I kept thinking to myself, "are they the good or bad guys?" This answer isn't so simple and straightforward. On one hand it does seem like Anonymous stands up for injustices - for instance their response to the shootings of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. On the other hand, it seems like a cyber attack when they shut down servers and websites or hack into sites. I think that's where it gets a bit tricky. I understand that they are using their online presence to raise awareness of issues, but I think there's a way to do that without breaking any laws. Personally for me, if there was an issue or topic that I felt needed awareness, I would do so in a legal manner. For that reason, I'm going to say villain. 

Due to Snowden's job history working for the CIA, he had access to highly confidential information. As Snowden stated, what compelled him to leak documents from the NSA was the fact that government officials were lying under oath to the public. Snowden believed that releasing the documents to journalists would be for the greater good because the public would finally know the truth. That makes me want to believe that he is a hero, but then another part of me is conflicted. In the eyes of the law, he did violate the Espionage Act, therefore he did commit a crime. But the leaked documents not only made the public aware of these surveillance programs, but it also made the NSA more accountable for their actions. 

Similarly to Snowden, Manning felt that she was doing a public service by leaking military documents. Some say she's a hero, some say she's a traitor. Manning had to face the consequences of what she did, even if she believed she was doing the right thing. She served her time (although she was released from prison early). Even if I had access to confidential information, it's not my place to leak that to the public. It's confidential for a reason. If there is a law in place, I am not going to go out of my way to violate that law.

I'm going to straight up say, I believe Assange is a villain. Prior to creating the site, WikiLeaks, he had a track record of hacking the Pentagon, the military, and large corporations. Just knowing that there are people out there who have the power and ability to hack someone's computer terrifies me. So the thought of someone being able to hack into highly classified information, is even more terrifying. I personally feel, Assange had bad intentions creating WikiLeaks - he basically created a space/community for hackers and leakers to share their information. Obviously this is illegal, so that is more reason for me to believe Assange is a villain. 

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