Cyber-vigilantes to some, terrorists to others, and recently described as some of the most influential people in the world.
The decentralized Anonymous group has been called many things since it rose to prominence in 2008. Four years later it has its eye on India, and later this week, Anonymous India, a group of hacktivists fighting against censorship of the web by Indian ISPs is gearing up to launch a country-wide, peaceful on-ground protest on June 9. This will mark the vigilante Anonymous group’s first ‘official’ operation on Indian soil.
The story of web censorship in India isn’t over and done, it’s unfolding as we surf the web every single day. In the recent past, internet biggies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo have been asked to censor content by the Indian government. When mutually unresolved, matters have been taken to court for the Indian judiciary to pronounce judgement.
More recently, when Reliance Communications blocked several websites to curb piracy, they were attacked by Anonymous India who hacked into their servers and made the list of blocked websites public on May 26. Since then, they’ve hacked into some Indian government websites, defaced BJP and Trinamool Congress websites, and have aggressively spread the message of their ‘Occupy’ June 9 protests through social media hotspots.
What began as an internet meme (‘we are doing it for the lulz’), Anonymous has now mushroomed into an ideology that seemingly takes on anyone that threatens an open and free Internet. Hacking and disrupting websites to spread a message is one thing, but organizing on-ground peaceful protests to prove a point is something else altogether. On June 9, Anonymous India is gearing up to send a message like no other.
When we last checked, on May 29, Anonymous India had planned to organize protests in 9 Indian cities. Under a week, that number has now grown to 16. Who can bet against the number rising before June 9, when #OpIndia begins? What can’t be denied is that the latest chapter in the story of web censorship in India definitely reads Anonymous.
If you’re planning to join the peaceful ‘Occupy’ protest organized by Anonymous India on June 9, you can find a list of venues here; but make sure you read their operational guideline. While the Constitution of India allows you the Right to Assemble and Demonstrate, the Supreme Court has ruled these rights as “not absolute”. Use your own discretion.