In 2012 alone ... Anonymous had played a significant role in publicizing the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) in the U.S., the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the government crackdown on the MegaUpload file-sharing site. The denial-of-service attacks that temporarily shut down government or corporate websites shouldn’t necessarily be seen as acts of vandalism that break things, suggested [Gabriella] Coleman, but rather as stunts designed to get the world thinking, hey, there might be something weird and wrong, as in the case of MegaUpload, about the spectacle of a government shutting down a major website before a court has found anyone guilty of a crime.
In 2012, Coleman wrote earlier this year, Anonymous “began to be portrayed as an open-source brand of radical protest politics and not necessarily as hooligans hell-bent on unleashing extremist, chaotic acts… Anonymous is a distinct, emerging part of this diverse and burgeoning political landscape. Its real threat may lie not so much in its ability to organize cyberattacks but in the way it has become a beacon, a unified front against censorship and surveillance.
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