BANGALORE ~ Anonymous is a faceless group. No two members know each other’s identity, let alone in which country they reside. They meet in a chat room to decide their course of action. Journalists wishing to communicate with them have to log into the chat room and are screened through a series of checks, from making them tweet to sharing details of their LinkedIn account. Three weeks ago, a number of members of Anonymous noticed that measures were being passed in India to regulate the freedom of the internet.
“Access to various websites like The Pirate Bay and Vimeo was being denied. A number of ISPs were blocking them. That’s when we decided that an India operation was necessary,” a member said. They attacked websites of government departments, political parties and internet service providers. They now say they will take their operation to its second stage.
Not every member is a hacker. After a website is defaced or hacked, the chat room is informed. Those who take care of the Twitter (there is an Indian operation with two twitter handles: @opindia_revenge and @AnonDDoS) and Facebook accounts simply pass on the information.
Apart from hacking, the group also calls for offline protests. They asked people to rally on 9 June, and it was a flop. There was much enthusiasm online with thousands confirming participation, but very few showed up. In Mumbai, where 2,000 individuals were expected, less than a tenth of that number were present. Anonymous members say this was expected since internet penetration is low. “However as this penetration increases and more control over the internet is exercised, people are bound to rebel against it. Also, many groups hadn’t taken necessary permissions for protesting, so many fled at the sight of policemen,” says a member.
Anonymous has also exhorted people to file RTI queries with government departments seeking information on their communication with various websites and social networking sites.