Stemming from the video posted in November of 2012, Anonymous followed through on their threats of cyber assault on the Israeli government for their repression of the internet in the Gaza Strip as well as the more recent strings of bombings and missile attacks on the citizens living there. Boasting records of nearly 44 million attacks on websites owned by the Israeli government and military, web surfers were greeted with Hamas propaganda on domestic versions of Bing, 404 messages due to DDOS attacks and their beloved LOIC technology, as well as general activity overload which inhibited normal functionality for a prolonged period of time online. However, the hacktivist collective took their efforts to another (questionable) level with the release of approximately 5,000 Israeli officials and 35,000 Israeli citizens’ personal data such as addresses and phone numbers onto Hamas affiliated and compromised domains.
This concerns the global-political forces at play because of this step from solely grey-market services into legitimately black-market and highly offensive actions that placed peoples’ lives in danger from known terrorist organizations as referenced in Mittelman’s article (227). While Anonymous prides themselves on engaging in activism solely for their “lulz,” there can be no contention that those individuals, who will remain unknown to any and all authorities, are participating in organized crime that is labeled OpIsrael.
Building on the defense of Indymedia that is discussed by Jeffrey Juris, Anonymous’ main goal to defend the right to expose offenses by the military forces operating in the strip is shadowed by their newfound affiliations (354). The “Glocalization” of users is now synchronizing with real world forces, however the protection offered by geographic dispersion and the impersonal nature of technology still remains (354). Systematic and directed efforts on this case to thwart Israel only serve as incrimination, but in a cyber world the question stands, who can be held accountable and who will hold them to it?
Paralleling the efforts of nation-states who patrol their physical borders to intercept smugglers and illegal immigrants, Israel invested substantial funds into their cyber-defense against Anonymous and others who threaten the online infrastructure. This is the weapon of their government and the developers are the enforcers, but what forces or authority do these hold in the cyber and real world? While Anonymous is reaching out to the marginalized people of Gaza, there is no World Court of the web or any physical domain in which the Israeli authorities could even prosecute the offenders if they were ever identified (Mittelman 227).
With the initial culture and intentions of the Hackers still dictating their actions, there is still a noticeable lack of cohesive behavior in this case study. With no central leadership and no traceable linkages between self-prescribed members the group exists as an entity devoid of physical characteristics, but no real ability to function as human figures would. This could be a reason why they are resorting to more drastic actions to fulfill their agenda. Weighing the negatives and positives of their organization can create our own opinions about whether they are justified as in the Arab Spring, but until there is a concrete and powerful enough authority to hold them responsible it will remain only discourse and debates.