Anirudh RegidiJan 17, 2017 12:13:44 IST
Anonymous has publicly proclaimed that Donald Trump will regret the next 4 years in office, that they will expose all his dirty secrets. When I see news like this, I don’t know whether to be happy or worried.
On one hand, I'm very interested in seeing what Anonymous digs up, Trump is a rather controversial president after all.
This isn't the 80's any longer, information doesn't vanish, it is all out there. You are going to regret the next 4 years. @realDonaldTrump
— Anonymous (@YourAnonCentral) January 16, 2017
On the other hand, this is a head of state we’re talking about and any attack on him is, in effect, an attack on the country. Like it or not, we put that head of state up there and we it's our responsibility to deal with said head of state ourselves. That’s how a democracy works.
If the Islamic State were to issue a fatwa against our Prime Minister, for example, that’s not something we’d take lying down. Is cyberspace any different? What Anonymous is indulging in is, in effect, cyberwarfare.
But this is too harsh an example. What if we were to replace Isis with, say, Peta? Does the equation change? Do you dismiss the threat as insignificant and laugh it off?
Anonymous might well fail to dig up anything of value on Trump. But what if they find information that actually does tie Trump to Russian spymasters, that the stories of Trump and those prostitutes are true? What if they sat on that information and blackmailed the president with it?
FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Are we okay with Anonymous’ threats simply because we want to see Trump fall? More importantly, are we condoning this form of vigilantism because we don’t like someone? Is that right?
I think not.
It's not about Trump
We don’t live in a perfect world. We all have skeletons in our closets and there are some things we’d rather not reveal to the world. At the same time, a head of state is going to sit under intense public scrutiny. Every move that he’ll make or has made will be analysed to death. If someone has the courage to step up to the limelight in such a manner, I’d expect that someone to be prepared for his/her personal life to be turned inside out.
That said, Anonymous’ threat is what amounts to cyber vigilantism, and is, ultimately, wrong on too many levels.
Where do we draw the line between investigative journalism and vigilantism? If anything, any dirt that a group like Anonymous digs up on any head of state is dirt that we should have dug up on our own in the first place. After all, what Anonymous can dig up, a state-sponsored hacker can dig up as well, and that’s much worse.
It's our inability to police our own government, however, that has led to the rise of groups like Anonymous and Legion. For now, I think they're a necessary evil.
This is, however, where we must learn to draw the line. Trump might be called unflattering names by many people in the world, but any music he faces should come from the hands of the American people, not from a bunch of faceless, nameless vigilantes who're "doing it for the lulz". The same applies to Legion and its hacks of government databases and prominent Twitter accounts.
We do our own dirty laundry, it's only right.
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