Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Freedom of Speech and Expression: The Jester and Anonymous

My friend called and said, "ya know, you don't have to publish all those comments about the Jester.  You can just ignore them. "  She is absolutely right, but I do believe in the freedom of speech and expression and that we are accountable for our words and actions, so I have not censored anything that comes in, and I don't require that anyone leaves a name or number.

The Jester's work fires people up and there really aren't many places where you can write about it, discuss it, etc.  The arguments are circular, though, so, at some point (now), I need to move on.

The Final Word

I  support free speech and expression.  Jester's work is his expression.  The courts will decide, if the time ever comes, whether his expression violates laws concerning hacking (and many thanks to the person who laid the law out - FANTASTIC information!) and whether his expression violates the civil rights of others.  I find it refreshing that someone is standing up and saying "this is what I believe in" and "this is what I am doing about it."  I wouldn't do it that way, but I don't use hacking as a form of protest.  I don't think it is unethical or illegal to admire the work of a lone wolf.  I don't have to agree with his work to admire it just as I don't have to "like" a particular piece of music or art to agree that is genius.  Most importantly, I am not his press agent, his legal counsel, his agent, or his mother.

Where Next?

The Jester isn't the only hactivist that I follow.  The other ideology that fascinates me is the work done under the name Anonymous.  The trouble with writing about Anonymous is that there isn't one particular theme or person or message since anyone can use the umbrella.  In talking about Jester, there is one person doing a specific set of activities; this isn't true for Anonymous.

Since I can't really discuss the technical side of hacks done under the name Anonymous, I will just focus on the activism part.  College students, in particular, are drawn to the masks and the fanfare.  So, this non-group is most fascinating to me.

I follow several Anon accounts on Twitter, and, truthfully, I learn so much from their tweets that I would not have known about.  For example, today a collection of Anonymous folks are supporting #OpGuzoo.  I would never have known about these poor animals tortured at a Canadian zoo had it not been for Anonymous.  Their information gathering and dissemination process is fantastic, and the reader can decide which causes to support.

The issues with Anonymous have already been identified.  When you allow anyone into the club -everyone will flock to the club, and there are all kinds of people - with good and bad intentions - that will show up at the door. Since it isn't a club, there isn't one person that can speak for the group when some goof ball does something on his or her own under the umbrella name.

That said, I have found the tweets of the Anons I follow to be educational (even if I don't agree with a cause or concern), and they link to direct sources.  I appreciate the voice they have even if I don't agree or support some of the causes supported by some of their followers.

The Connection

Interestingly, the Jester is the most anonymous of any of the hactivists but he opposes the overall Anonymous movement.  The only cause they have both agree upon is their joint disgust at the Westboro Baptist Church.  In his Twitter profile, Jester makes it clear that he is not associated with the Anonymous movement.  The Anonymous movement often supports whistle blowers and leakers that release sensitive and compromising information about our troops, our defense and offense tactics, etc.  The Jester opposes anything that he believes violates the safety of our troops or is considered an enemy to the US.

The Freedom of Speech and Expression

Back in the 60s, you could grab up your sign and go on a protest march.  There was a chance you would get beat down.  Nothing really has changed.  If one idiot in the crowd throws a paper cup at a police officer, the whole crowd is considered a mob and police have the responsibility to stop violence before it becomes a mob scene.  Hactivism bypasses all that hoopla.  Go in, write a little code, apply a little code, walk back to the kitchen and grab a bag of chips.  I give credit to the Anonymous protestors that still march in real time and real places.  And, truthfully, the masks are effective - they signify the acceptance that we are all one voice and that no one person is greater than another.  However, wearing the mask on the top of your head defeats the purpose, so if you are going to be Anonymous - be, well, anonymous.  Wear the mask or don't, but he honest about what you want at the end of the day.  If you want to be known as a protestor for a particular cause, pony up and own it.  If you want to join a throng of voices and don't need recognition, grab your mask and wear it proudly.

I believe that we all have a duty to "be the change" that "we want to see in this world."  For right or wrong, I believe both the Jester and his fans and the Anonymous followers are doing this - they are speaking up and trying to make a difference.  After all is said and done, apathy is what will kill us all, and these two factions are working toward beating apathy.

Image Source


  1. how can you believe in free speech And the jester - when the jesters actions denies free speech ?

  2. I believe in freedom of speech and expression. They aren't the same thing. He has the right to express himself as he sees fit. The court determines whether or not he violates free speech through his expression.

  3. Beth with all due respect i think that you are in denial in many ways and have "drunk the kool-aid" so to speak.
    In a nutshell i shall give a few summary points here -

    Beth - How is he breaking the law ?
    He's breaking several laws - proof given via links.
    Beth - oh he is breaking the law, well i support his right to protest

    You are supporting the jester ? -
    Beth - no i'm not i'm just interested in hactivism and lotsa college kids like him

    Surely you are supporting the jester at the very least with these blogs
    Beth - this blog is not pro-jester i have powderpuff girls stuff too . . . .

    But you've likened him to a super hero
    Beth - well he is not a real superhero, they don't exist

    I guess he's late 30's
    Beth - i don't speculate

    Beth - i admire him because he's not in it for fame or fortune
    No that's incorrect he has a store - raising revenue and is directly soliciting monetary donations - clearly he's making money offa this now not to mention the potential book/movie deal/speaking circuit dollars -
    Beth - oh well that's the american way

    He's arrogant -
    Beth - I don't find him all that arrogant

    He's a braggard -
    Beth - It almost seems like bragging is part of the hacking culture

    Why can't he be more humble ?
    Beth - well he's not mother theresa

    He's a failure as he gets no results -
    Beth - i don't claim to understand hacking or what he does

    I believe in free speech - not denying others
    Beth - my acceptance of the freedom to speak and express extends to The Jester

    Hacktivism entails breaking the law
    Beth - hactivism is expression

    But he's breaking the law
    Beth - I support the law because they are laws; but I also support all the people who fight for rights that don't yet exist or for people trying to change laws that shouldn't exist. (contradiction in itself)

    You seem to turn every point to suit your own purposes and most of it is basically shifting focus from criticism via diversive response. Mostly apparent on the jesters angels blogposts.

    1. Your summary skills are lacking. Your interpretation skills are suspect, as well. Basic college research skills will teach you to keep the original context of claims in tact, and to summarize without casting your own view point into the text. Please revise and resubmit.

  4. I think reading these posts here people can make up their own minds regarding your motives and feelings towards the jester.
    However to me you come across as a cleary as a sycophant in denial and i am not saying that merely to anger you.

    Beth you hopefully will one day draw the conclusion that i have - vigilante's don't work and people who take the law into their own hands by their own rules
    end up doing more harm than good - Jester by potentially interrupting covert survelliance and infiltration on certain sites.
    Nothing he has done as really amounted to anything in the long run and in a few cases has failed entirely - i cite for example the incorrect exposure of Mr Hugo Carvalho as a member of Lulzsec (lynch mob anyone ?) and taking offline the WBC website which disabled readers and journalists world-wide to verify claims about the church that were made in the press.
    Disruption of service is not a good enough argument as this is not WW2 where he is a resistance fighter trying to slow down the Germans awaiting for the allies to come

    in and finish the job.
    He has gone rogue and answers to no-one and if you read his blog and twitter posts you can easily find hypocrosy and double standards.
    I agree with Kevin Mitnick (who's website he recently shut down for no apparent reason than pure showboating) - go after child pornography related sites and in turn serve their members on a platter to law enforcement officials - then you'd have a hero, no two ways about it.
    At the moment we are seeing extortion/blackmail as well as hacking into foreign websites causing diplomatic harm followed by further egotistical braggard behavour with links to press articles reporting of his deeds.
    Detractors via twitter are shouted down, threatened, branded as trolls and blocked from any meaningful discussion.
    If these are the actions of a "hero" then some have certainly re-defined the definition of one.
    Hopefully common sense will prevail.
    One might argue how can 50,000 people be wrong ? to which i would point to the millions that were wrong in Germany, Italy and Japan in the 30's.
    They all thought they were doing the right thing too.

    Finally, Beth it's been good to debate between ourselves and even though our views oppose i sincerely do wish you all the best in the future.
    Good day

    1. I appreciate your opinion. We will have to agree to disagree about Jester's manners. I have not followed him long enough to know who he has banned. I do see a lot of people tossing flames into the timeline, though. I am not sure what kind of response they are expecting. I am not familiar with the Kevin Mitnick situation. I know what recently happened, but I don't know the back ground of their relationship.

      I don't know that I have ever read that the Jester asked for anyone's opinion or offered to have a discussion about his motives or tactics. He does what he does. He hasn't asked for approval or opinions from the crowd. So, while I support a discussion, I think it is unfair to say "well, he wouldn't listen to me" when he didn't ask for your opinion in the first place.

      In any case, I wish you well, too.


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