Bread and Circuses and Anonymous
Lisa Vaas has an interesting post on the Sophos Naked Security blog (and of course on Graham Cluley’s, Paul Ducklin’s, SophosLabs’, and Chester Wisniewski’s own blogs – call it saturation marketing). She questions the effectiveness of the Anonymous ‘bullying’ campaigns, especially against companies like Sony.
She is right to make the question. Anonymous claims to be fighting for democracy; but if it alienates the population, it will be defeated by democracy. For Anonymous to win, it has a fine line to tread; it will need all the political skills of its enemies to take the people with it.
Lisa Vaas’ own comments illustrate the problem, She says, very bluntly,
SOPA is an affront to the Internet.
But what does she suggest to prevent this affront?
Anonymous, back off. Let consumers handle this, and let us do it without bullying.
Politically, this is a shockingly naive statement from an intelligent lady.
Bread and circuses have been used since our earliest political systems to appease the public. It is particularly relevant to this situation: bread is government and circuses is the entertainment industry; and together they represent the unholy alliance that is driving SOPA in America, ACTA around the world, and so many other restrictive, controlling and censoring laws.
This is the problem faced by Anonymous. How can it fight for freedom without appearing to be taking away the bread and circuses fed to us to keep us quiet and happy and docile. I hope Anonymous succeeds. I hope it grows up and realises that the stakes are enormous. The stakes are freedom itself. It is, along with the other rebels of the Internet such as Wikileaks and organizations like CCC our best hope. But it has to take the people with it. In the end, only people power can make governments realise that they are our servants and not our masters.