[Book Review] Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy : The Many Faces of Anonymous / Gabriella Coleman

This made for a very interesting read, particularly since I know people who are friends with persons mentioned, people who have been hurt by persons mentioned, and I possibly know some of the persons mentioned.

Beyond any connection and familiarity I have with the people and events in Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, this book is a fascinating and well-written exploration of Anonymous, hactivisim, privacy, security, and the political theater surrounding these issues.  I spend way too much time online, so I started with a working knowledge of the events within, but the writing clearly explains so that someone without this familiarity can understand and follow.

Like Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, Anonymous has its own counter-culture made up of curiosity and mischief.  Like phone phreaks before them, they hack because they can, a joyous (for them) exploration and exploitation of systems that this group of individuals shares.

The language in the book is not delicate, reflecting on the at times inflammatory language used within forums and chats.  The narrative also reflects on the collaboration and anarchy of the various lose collectives of actors on this stage.  The book goes beyond just the actions of Anonymous and into an important discussion on laws relating to cyber-security.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of NetGalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.


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