The folks over at the infamous 4chan, known for banding together not only to bring us memes, be internet tastemakers and occasionally shock the masses with some truly down and dirty pr0n and other prurient interests, but to take on perceived internet foes on behalf of the everyman, are at it again. This time the loosely knit group is wielding their internet sword to smite two worthy (and deserving) opponents: the MPAA and RIAA.
The two attacks each happened a day apart over the weekend, with the MPAA tumbling first and the RIAA soon to follow. What prompted the coordinated attack on the two sites? A protest over both organizations’ draconian and shortsighted anti-piracy activities. You can read more detail about the MPAA and RIAA attacks here (and a variety of other places online – it was big news this weekend). The back story about Aiplex Software and the thought process that spurred the attack is interesting, to be sure, but I’m more focused on the issue of privacy and protest as a whole.
Is this the future of protest? I think it is, but only if we can educate more people on Net Neutrality and keep the internet airwaves free. While Net Neutrality isn’t the focus in the press coverage of the symbolic attacks, I think it should be. If telecoms and huge providers are allowed to sneak laws in that narrow the internet, it will make organized attacks like this harder to manage (though I’m sure if anyone online could figure out ways around it, it would be the folks over on /b/).
I think moot said it best when making a case for internet anonymity at a recent TED talk that you can watch above.
If anonymity and free access is gone, then well financed heavy hitting organizations like the MPAA and RIAA would be able to operate without consequences. In a world that often does nothing in the face of the actions of big corporations to be able to have a voice for the people is key.