A few months ago, I watched a video released by Anonymous, asking to take actions against the boys involved in Rehtaeh Parsons’s death. The video release was addressed to the general public, police, rapists, Rehtaeh’s high school, and students who allegedly gang-raped Rehtaeh. The message was very powerful as Rehtaeh’s case was reopened and four boys were charged.
Anonymous is a group of international activists whose goal it is to “help govern the world.” Many of its members are programmers who often hack or threaten to release classified or sensitive information to the public, if an organization does not take certain actions.
One may consider Anonymous as a great organization that helps make our world a better place, but I sometimes question its actions. I personally don’t like when people hide behind a mask and coercing the government to act in a certain way. Such an approach can compromise the work that the government does, and can even be interpreted as being of a terrorist nature. I do understand that Anonymous may have the interest of people in mind, but we need to take a look at the big picture.
The government is there to protect its people. Public servants have the education and experience required to deal with certain situations. Anonymous on the other hand, my not necessarily have the experience or the necessary perspective to respond accordingly to perceived wrongs committed by the government. In fact, due its limited scope, the actions of Anonymous can cause more harm than good. For instance, in Rehtaeh’s case, releasing the names of the alleged rapists would have not only contravened the Youth Criminal Justice Act that aims to protect the identity of minors, but it would have also prevented justice from being carried out properly. The release of the names of those boys, before the police and courts could determine their culpability would have compromised their security but also their right to a fair trial.
In summary, Anonymous tries to make the world a better place, but unfortunately, sometimes it does the opposite. It teaches other people that making threats and breaking the law are acceptable ways to achieve one’s goals. People must be mindful that such actions may compromise the core foundations on which our society is built.