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The London Riots and Anonymous: Are They Connected?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, August 10 2011

Writing for Forbes, Parmy Olson notes parallels between the London riots and the online rioting of members of Anonymous and Lulzsec:

The former was physical, animalistic and violent, involving young people wearing hoods and masks to cover their faces. The latter has been virtual, haphazard and shrill, often involving young people who congregated on IRC (chat) networks and unruly discussion forums like 4chan.

The participants of both the riots and Anonymous were young, perhaps disaffected, perhaps sharing a sense of vague hopelessness about the future. It’s even possible this physical and virtual lashing out by our youth was a sign of where society and modern day civilization is headed.

That’s just one parallel. The other, which I’m a little more certain about, is that neither the cyber attacks by Anonymous or the London riots would have been as widespread and extraordinarily well-organized were it not for social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

The people who have been arrested for alleged involvement with Anonymous have often ranged in age from 17 to 35. Statements from Anonymous and LulzSec, when not suggesting that they were instigating online mayhem just for laughs, have voiced pretty pointed rage at government corruption, corporate greed and ineptitude by many who collect sensitive information from average people and don't make that information hard enough to steal.

Rioters in the United Kingdom are not so forthcoming with motive, but by avoiding that territory, Olson may hew close to some reasonable approximation of truth.

(With Becky Kazansky)