Saturday, July 6, 2013

Who is The Jester?

Right, so, I guess to be considered a blogger, you have to blog more than once a year.  I will work on that.

Lately, I have been interested in the twisty under current of hacktivism. Giving voice to the voiceless is a passion, and hactivism, whether right or wrong, is giving voice to something.

In studying hactivism, I have stumbled over most of the famous groups, ideologies, and movements.  They are all fascinating, and they all do something a little different or champion something unique.

My favorite among them is The Jester.

So, to clear up the obvious, I have a total crush on the concept of The Jester.  He is a super hero in a world full of villains.  But, he could be a she.  And he could be a 13 year old.  I have no idea.  No one has an idea.  The mastermind of Jester is that no one knows anything about him, and that is the way it should be.

His Identity

There are people out there devoted to unmasking The Jester.  I am not one of them.  If he showed up in my hotel room, I would hope he'd wear a mask or make me wear a blindfold; I totally don't want to know.  He is magical the way he is (and, I don't actually think he is a girl or a 13 year old).  He can't do the work he does if we know who he is...and the work he is doing is important.

So, who is The Jester? Well, in my fantasy, he is about 35 and is built like a marine and wears army pants and a black tee shirt.  He has a great tan, too. Oh, and he wears combat boots and has a picture of his Mom on the back of his dog tags.  But, that's just me.

In reality?  Who cares?  Let his work speak for him.

His Work

The Jester is a single focus operation - he takes down terrorist websites.  He is patriot hacker and only hacks those things which he believes pose a threat to American soldiers or the American spirit.  He mostly focuses on taking down Jihadist sites, but occasionally goes after anti-American hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, and, more recently, Ed SnowdenNewsweek did a great story on him, and even the military seems to recognize his capabilities.  To date, he is the only hacker that has successfully stopped major leaking movements like WikiLeaks (skip to minute 28).

So, should we unmask Jester?  Will someone get a fancy car or get all the girls if they know his identity?  Someone tweeted that we are giving him too much power; others tweet that our government doesn't even know who is he or what he is doing.  If that were true, Newsweek wouldn't care to write about him, and the military wouldn't mention him.  They care; they know what he is doing, and he can do it a heck of a lot faster without the red tape of organizational structure.

Uncle Ben would tell Jester that "with great power comes great responsibility."  Jester seems to know that already.  If he takes down a site because they are going to shelter Snowden, he brings it back up once the government changes its mind. He doesn't go after random enemies; he doesn't run around defacing random websites.  He seems to recognize his role; hell, the guy defined it.

So, to those folks trying to unmask The Jester, get a life.  Go after the bad guys. 

Image Source


  1. Loving you!! This is great. :-)

  2. Hi Beth i disagree with your sentiment towards the Jester.
    A super hero doesn't brag about what he has done.
    a super hero remains humble and doesn't tell everyone his laptop is in a museum.
    A super hero doesn't bully people and deny them their first amendment rights because he disagrees with their views.
    A super hero doesn't threaten and intimidate other nations.
    Has this super hero impacted investigations into terrorist groups when shutting down their sites ?
    How was i to confirm the shocking story regarding the Westboro church when i could not view their website as jester had taken it down for other a month ?
    What was the point of jester hacking into Kevin Mitnick's server recently - showboating ?
    At the end of the day and after three years (and i fully understand the patriotic sentiment) - what has he actually achieved ?
    I think he is out of control and detrimental to the home team.
    Beware of false prophets . . . . . . .
    I would like to debate more here with you if possible.

  3. Thanks for your post. Here are my rough thoughts, and I will probably write more later in a post.

    For as much as I love The Jester's work, I am not blind the pride he has in it. He has been identified by some of the best and brightest among us (Major O'Connor, for example and credible news agencies like Newsweek). They see value in what he is doing, and I think it is just fine for him to be proud of the work he does. It isn't likely that he can tell anyone he knows in real life about his laptop. And, having worked with NASA acquisitions, I can tell you that getting a laptop into the hands of a museum isn't very easy. Further, the only super heroes we have to follow are fake; if they were real, would they be so humble? I am not so sure.

    I think the principal issue here is not whether he is capable of doing the work but whether he is making matters worse? The WBC gets to travel on the dime of national sorrow. Should they, under the US Constitution, have the right to free speech? Sure. But, we have the right to protest, too. Isn't Jester exercising that right? If they can stampede on the funerals of children and freely speak; we have a responsibility to speak, too.

  4. Thanks for your reply Beth but i cannot understand how the Jester is exercising his right to free speech by not allowing others theirs in the form of taking the WBC webserver offline. As i pointed out this may have been more detrimental as myself and am sure others could not verify the claims being made in the press by going to their site at the time.
    Again i am absolutely against the WBC but i just don't think that shutting down their website has much benefit and today i see it is still active - as is all of the sites he has attacked.
    Someone really has to help change their opinions with intelligent debate before it gets to a David Koresh, Waco kinda situation.
    If you look at all of the Jester's actions i just don't see overall what he has achieved.
    The taking down of websites temporarily reminds me of the big bad wolf and the three little pigs - but in this case they just build better websites instead of houses.
    Jester has a right to free speech too but i don't think that denying the rights of others is the answer. Bullying people into your own way of thinking never really works.

    "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."


    1. I appreciate your intelligent dialogue about the issue, and I can't speak for The Jester, as I only know him as well as anyone else. But, I think the temporary nature of the attacks are what make it a "protest" instead of an attack. I imagine he has the skills to take down the sites completely if he wants, right? So it is a choice he makes to take them down long enough to have a point. In the Big Bad Wolf story, the Wolf eats the first two pigs and the third one gets smart and builds a stronger house. But, only AFTER the other two are lunch. Maybe there is something to say about the #ticktock warnings?

    2. I think one could protest in a more intelligent (and legal) way and no he cannot take down the sites completely and only temporarily which is why i gave the 3 pigs analogy because at the end of the day the house (website) is still standing.
      Don't forget my point earlier when a site is down others cannot verify their content such as in the WBC incident.
      That kind of censorship probably did more harm than good as journalists around the world could not verify anything and further propel the story into the publics attention.

  5. I think there is a very fine line between pride and arrogance.
    From what i read on his site and twitter comments it certainly appears arrogant - words and actions seem clearly right-wing extremism acts to me.
    I disagree that the best and brightest among us have actually condoned the jesters actions.
    Am not familiar with newsweek.
    I fail to see the importance of his laptop at all regardless of how difficult it is to get into a musuem.
    Originally you drew the comparison between the jester and a super hero however if you just remove super hero from the above points that were given i'm sure that kind of person already does exist in our reality - but it's just not the Jester though is it ?

  6. Thank you for your post. I agree that there is a fine line between pride and arrogance, but I am not the judge of the line. I have no problem with people being proud of their work. If he is arrogant about it or not, the work is still the same, no? Please don't extend meanings to my words that I did not intend. I said that the best and brightest have identified his work; I did not say that they condone it. I doubt very highly that Major O'Connor supports any kind of civil hacking; he just recognized that Jester was the only one capable of stopping WikiLeaks. Further, the point of his portion of the talk was that we need to change our defenses so that swifter operations can occur. I am not sure I understand your final point.

    1. Being arrogant i just don't believe is necessary and i ask why not be humble ?
      Also maybe i have misunderstood but i believed that your referencing Major O' Conner and newsweek Was a condonement - perhaps i got that wrong but that's how it came across.
      My final point was really that heroes as a rule don't generally brag about their actions and it can be done in the real world.

    2. I also believe humility is a virtue. I am not a judge of humility though; I don't find him all that arrogant - no more arrogant that any of the other hackers I have been looking at. It almost seems like bragging is part of the hacking culture?

    3. just because it is deemed as part of the hacking culture it does not make it acceptable or necessary

  7. I thought that he might be 35 too or perhaps even in his early forties with all those 80's film references (but hey everyone loves the 80's) however when reading parts of his blog and twitter responses he comes accross more adolescent in many ways however i don't believe he is under thirty so i tend to think he his more of a narcissistic personality type and i'm not saying this to be a troll - just making an observation.
    How else is the ego-driven arrogance explainable ?
    Other than drug use - which i certainly don't think is the case here.

    1. I appreciate your post. I really try not to speculate about such things.

  8. I's much more than a protest when you threaten to take a site down or threaten to expose someone or something if you don't get your way - blackmail is a form of extortion - which essentially is considered terrorism.

    1. Thank you for your post. I am not qualified to interpret the law, but, my the letter of the law, it seems that if he were ever caught, those would be the arguments used to persecute him.

    2. regardless of the legal implications how can you condone or support that kind of behavior though?


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