With the Defcon 19 hacking conference set to begin in Las Vegas next week, hacking group/movement/"idea" Anonymous is touting its own "social network," a site with the Googly moniker Anon+.
@YourAnonNews recently sent out a tweet advertising the effort, which seems to be an attempt to create an anonymous, open-source communications platform that will allow for an Internet space somehow immune to government shutdown and corporate censorship. Here's the tweet:
Welcome to a new why of thinking about a social network. - http://anonplus.com/
As you no doubt noticed, the tweet includes a rather interesting typo, and this is true of the mission statement on the Anon+/Anonplus home page, which includes a few others. (btw, as an editor/writer I'm well aware that typos happen--I've certainly been guilty of them; in fact, there might even be one or two in this post--though I hope not.)
Here's a chunk of the mission statement as it first appeared:
Anonplus was meant to twart [sic] government censorship--so that in the case of a government blackout--the people can still be heard. The people are so far estranged from their world governments that they do not have a voice--even outside of revolution--therefore, they need an amplification tool without having to fear censorhip [sic] from both the government AND the social network/media that they are choosing to use.
"Twart" should of course be "thwart." But I like the sound of "twart"--it conjures an image of the hacker as wart on the nose of The Man. "Censorhip," too, is great, with its suggestion that state-sponsored suppression of free speech is the in thing. Are these typos intentional? Probably not (after all, "censorship" is spelled correctly the first time around), but the often clever writing of Anonymous spinoff/subset LulzSec makes me like to think so.
The mission statement (which you can read in its entirety at the end of this post) continues:
This social network will also incorporate and facilitate an open source educational environment allowing those who want, to further their knowledge of things that are righted to them at birth without having to feed the machine thousands upon thousands of dollars to do so...They will be able to achieve knowledge on how to defend themselves against those who would stand to oppose them in the chance that their liberty and freedom be threatened.
Is that last bit a hint of an Anonymous-branded online hacktivist academy? Perhaps. There's also mention in the statement of some sort of green-conscious bartering system being put into place, but it's hard to suss out if this has to do with sidestepping the power (as in utilities) grid or avoiding the power (as in "working for The Man") structure inherent in many people's 9-to-5 (or 8-to-5 or 9-to-6) existence.
At present, there's not a whole lot of content on Anon+/Anonplus. Sections include Latest News, Documents, Donations, Forums, Art & Screens (or Arts & Funs), WebChats, Contacts, and an FAQ. The Forum link takes you to another site, which seems to be fairly well fleshed out.
And as the FAQ makes clear, the people behind the effort aren't necessarily sure how the whole thing will shape up: "It is merely a network of free thinking, free minded people banding together to create an anonymous communications tool capable of sustaining a social network. What comes from it is left for the community itself to populate and utilize."
We'll just have to wait and see.
While it's true that the often-awkward writing on the site (not to mention the somewhat amateurish typography and site design itself), makes one wonder how it could amount to much, it's also true that Wikipedia was the butt of many people's jokes back in the day and that WikiLeaks came out of nowhere to put a serious wrinkle in the fabric of U.S. foreign relations.
And whether one agrees with the self-sanctioned, Robin Hood-like role played by Anonymous and LulzSec, their exploits--though they may seem to accomplish little of substance, and may sometimes harm innocent bystanders--do, perhaps, make one think. If only a little.
And that's true here. The awkward writing on the Anon+/Anonplus site--intentional or not--brings to mind intriguing images, and perhaps points to a legitimate kernel in the Anonymous/Anon+ project:
With Facebook and Google+ falling over themselves to find a way to accommodate businesses, and with Twitter searching like mad for a viable advertising strategy, a "new why of thinking about social networks" seems like, at the very least, an interesting exercise.
Will Anonymous' experiment in creating a social network provide some sort of worthwhile alternative to the commercially underwritten variety? Can the project possibly provide a free-speech forum shielded from the threat of censorship or shutdown? Or is it all nothing more than a half-baked, comic book-fueled, self-aggrandizing attempt to bring about some sort of misguided cyberutopia?
As mentioned, we'll just have to wait and see if Anon+ adds up to anything.
Here's the full text of the statement on the Anon+/Anonplus home page:
Welcome to the official Anonplus Development Blog. There are still some loose boxes at the old place so excuse the mess as we move in. Until everything is settled we hope this keeps your gaze for a bit.
For the non technical heres the idea behind AnonPlus straight from the idea woman herself Jamie of Presstorm.com..
Anonplus was meant to twart government censorship - so that in the case of a government blackout - the people can still be heard. The people are so far estranged from their world governments that they do not have a voice - even outside of revolution - therefore, they need an amplification tool without having to fear censorhip from both the government AND the social network/media that they are choosing to use.
This social network will also incorporate and facilitate an open source educational environment allowing those who want, to further their knowledge of things that are righted to them at birth without having to feed the machine thousands upon thousands of dollars to do so.
This social network will allow open communication of ideas -and is essentially a cyber-anarchy formatted environment whereas the people are the ones keeping the peace in order via an "understanding," rather than a "force" or "threat." They will be able to achieve knowledge on how to defend themselves against those who would stand to oppose them in the chance that their liberty and freedom be threatened.
This social network would allow open exchange of currency via alternative currency without feeding the grid - and those corporations that wish to strangle the average citizen's wages without a conscience. The people would generate their own currency and wage via alternative energy means such as wind, solar, and geothermal energy - and then any excess can be used for gain using a barter/trade system via the social network anonplus without fear of being penalized like ebay or other similar networks do.
This social network is essentially: The activists dashboard.
For the Tech heads we have a technical writeup that gets updated as the project morphs. This is not a simple project and our goals are huge. We are also programming without the help of any framework to minimize host impact and that is why we dont use
. We are not trying to piggy back off of anything , but create our own little piece of the internet.