Online activists are at it again. Supporters of the Occupy Wall Street protests today released more personal information on bankers, including the man at the helm of the financial institution whose downfall ranks as the largest bank failure in the U.S.
Information was posted to the Web about Kerry Killinger who was removed as CEO of Washington Mutual shortly before it collapsed in 2008. He was reportedly awarded more than $25 million in compensation that year, including a $15 million severance payment. A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Company this year accuses Killinger of leading the bank on a "lending spree" knowing that the country was in the midst of a housing market bubble.
Earlier today, the target was Joseph Ficalora, CEO of New York Community Bancorp. Ficalora is hardly a household name, unlike previous victims--the CEOs of JP Morgan Chase, James Dimon, and Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein.
The information released isn't all that sensitive--mostly phone numbers, addresses, compensation, legal and other information. The move is more symbolic than punitive. It's billed as retribution for police actions against demonstrators protesting government corruption and the huge economic gap between the top one percent of the U.S. that control more than a third of the country's wealth.
"Every time a protester gets arrested, more bankers will be targeted. We stand side by side with our brothers and sisters Occupying the World," said a statement released with the CEO information. "They destroyed personal property in #OccupyBoston as the cops dumped the peoples belongings in dump trucks, so we release data.We are Anonymous, We Are the new digital race. Expect Us!"
Behind the data dump is a group known as "CabinCr3w," which is aligned with the Anonymous collective of online activists. In addition to targeting bankers, CabinCr3w previously released data on a New York police officer shown in videos spraying pepper spray into the faces of protesters unprovoked.
The activists have taken their actions to the Internet as a way to bring attention to real-world complaints. In some cases, as with the data release of NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, the move brings publicity and engenders a Robin Hood-like sympathy.
But in other cases, they alienate people who might otherwise be supporters. For instance, even some participants in Anonymous online and offline protests thought affiliates had gone too far when they released e-mails, addresses and phone numbers of San Francisco area commuters that was stolen from a Bay Area Transit Authority Web site.
What do you think of the antics?