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Hard to criticize Anonymous for targeting Westboro Baptist Church

Dec 17, 20123 mins
CybercrimeData and Information Security

Saying this won't earn me any popularity points. It may even be hypocritical given my criticism of Anonymous in the past. But my feelings are colored by the filth that is the Westboro Baptist Church.

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Credit: Illus_man/Shutterstock

Readers know by now that I’ve never been a fan of Anonymous and groups like it. I’ve written several posts comparing what they do to bullying and terrorism.

My view has moderated somewhat over time because I’ve seen that some of those involved are capable of doing good. The question is how to “build a better Anonymous,” as infosec practitioners Josh Corman and Brian Martin wrote in a series of articles this year. But I still don’t like a lot of their activities.

I should be critical of their latest attack on The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), the gay-hating group known for protesting outside funerals of U.S. service members, because attacking its website is yet another act of lawlessness and, like it or not, WBC is protected by the First Amendment like the rest of us. But I can’t help but smile instead. Anonymous’ latest attack was a reaction to WBC’s threat to picket yesterday’s vigil for the victims of Friday’s Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Anonymous released a statement that read, “We will not allow you to corrupt the minds of America with your seeds of hatred. We will not allow you to inspire aggression to the social factions which you deem inferior. We will render you obsolete. We will destroy you. We are coming.”

According to the Huffington Post, WBC planned to stage the picketing to “sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.” In my opinion, this is a filthy hate group that has dishonored the memories of slain servicemen and women. Their suggestion that the massacre of innocent children and educators is God’s divine retribution for homosexuality makes it hard for me not to like that Anonymous hacked their website.

I shouldn’t approve of any kind of online attack.

But when a hate group threatens to picket a vigil for 20 murdered children, I’m perfectly comfortable being a hypocrite in this case.

Feel free to criticize me for it in the comments section or on Twitter and Facebook.

Maybe my views will shift again after we’ve gotten some distance from the Sandy Hook massacre and the raw emotions that followed it. But I make no promises.