Parmy Olson

  • Aired:  06/18/12
  •  | Views: 28,429

In her book, "We Are Anonymous," journalist Parmy Olson investigates the subversive collective's paranoid world and charts its evolution from pranks to activism. (7:02)

WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE LONDON BUREAU CHIEF FOR FORBES MAGAZINE.

HER NEW BOOK IS CALLED WE ARE ANONYMOUS.

INSIDE THE HACKER WORLD AND THE GLOBAL CYBER INSURGENCY.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE SHOW PARMY OLSEN.

HELLO.

( APPLAUSE ) NICE TO SEE YOU

>> NICE TO SEE YOU Jon: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THE BOOK IS CALLED "WE ARE ANONYMOUS." OBVIOUSLY YOU COULD CHANGE THE

TENSE OF THAT NOW THAT THERE'S A THICK BOOK WRITTEN ABOUT IT.

IT COULD BE "WE WERE" ANONYMOUS.

>> YES Jon: AND THEN THIS LADY CAME.

SHE WROTE THIS BOOK.

AND NOW WE'RE GOING TO RUIN HER LIFE.

WAS THAT A CONCERN WHEN YOU FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN THIS?

>> DON'T GIVE ME ANY IDEAS Jon: OF COURSE NOT.

ARE YOU KIDDING.

I DON'T EVEN HAVE A COMPUTER.

>> I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THAT BUT WHEN I STARTED WRITING THE BOOK BEFORE I EVEN STARTED

WRITING THE BOOK WHEN I WAS DOING THE REPORTING FOR FORBES I JUST BECAME INTERESTED IN THIS

KIND OF SECRET OR MYSTERIOUS KIND OF SUB CULTURE THAT WAS COMING FROM THE INTERNET.

I JUST WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IT BECAUSE ALL THE REPORTS THAT WERE OUT THERE AT THE TIME WERE

REHASHES OF OTHER REPORTS.

NOT MANY PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY SPEAKING TO THE PEOPLE IN THE NETWORK AND IN THAT COMMUNITY.

>> Jon: HOW DO YOU FIND SOMEONE?

DO YOU PUT IT ON... DO YOU WRITE ON CRAIGSLIST "LOOKING FOR..."

>> THEY HAVE THEIR CHAT NETWORKS THAT YOU CAN GO ON TO BUT I STARTED JUST BY ASKING ONE

REPRESENTATIVE TO SPEAK.

THE U.K. REPRESENTATIVE.

AND THEN THAT U.K.

REPRESENTATIVE ENDED UP BEING QUITE A SENIOR FIGURE IN THE MOVEMENT.

HE WAS CONNECTING ME TO OTHER PEOPLE AND OTHER PEOPLE.

YOU JUST START KIND OF WITH ONE PERSON AND GOING ON TO THE NEXT

>> Jon: DO YOU TALK TO THEM VIA COMPUTER OR DO YOU ACTUALLY SIT DOWN WITH THEM?

>> EVENTUALLY THAT IS WHAT I TRIED TO DO.

BECAUSE JUST AS A JOURNALIST YOU WANT TO MEET FACE TO FACE WITH PEOPLE IF YOU CAN.

I HAD TO BUILD UP MONTHS OF TRUST AND CONVERSATIONS WITH PEOPLE ONLINE AND THEN, YOU

KNOW, PHONE CALLS AND THEN EVENTUALLY A FEW OF THEM AGREED TO MEET ME FACE TO FACE.

SOME OF THEM...

>> Jon: LET'S BE HONEST.

WE ARE ALL GOING TO BE WORKING FOR THEM.

IF THEY UNDERSTAND HOW...

BECAUSE FERG IS ONLINE.

IF YOU UNDERSTAND HOW TO MAN UP LAWLT THAT OR GO INTO THAT, YOU WIN, RIGHT?

>> PRETTY MUCH.

THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE KIND OF DOING.

THEY'RE VERY GOOD AT BEING A STEP AHEAD OF THE AUTHORITIES AND THE WHITE HAT SECURITY INDIVIDUALS.

YOU KNOW, WE LIVE SO MUCH OF OUR LIVES ONLINE NOW.

WE ALL HAVE FACEBOOK PROFILES AND TWITTER.

WE THINK THROUGH GOOGLE PRACTICALLY

>> Jon: WHAT ARE THOSE AGAIN?

FACEBOOK.

FAIR ENOUGH

>> TWITTER IS ANOTHER ONE Jon: NOTE TO SELF.

UP DATE YOUR FRIEND PAGE.

I STILL HAVE HOURS LEFT ON MY A.O.L. DISK.

SO THEY HAVE THIS ABILITY.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE THEN OF WHAT THEY'RE TRYING TO DO OR WAS THERE NOT... IS IT NOT...

>> THERE'S LOTS OF DIFFERENT,

DISPARITY.

IT STARTED OFF MAYBE ABOUT EIGHT YEARS AGO WITH IMAGE BOARD.

PEOPLE JUST TRYING TO MESS WITH OTHER PEOPLE.

>> Jon: WHAT IS THAT?

IT'S A DISCUSSION FORUM.

ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS IS CALLED CALLED... MILLIONS OF PEOPLE VISIT IS EVERY MONTH.

THEY'RE ALL FORCED TO BE ANONYMOUS.

THEY STARTED DOING THINGS TOGETHER LIKE RAIDING OTHER WEBSITES.

IN 2008 THEY ACTUALLY TRIED TO HAVE A SERIOUS PROTEST AGAINST THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY.

THAT'S WHEN IT STARTED GETTING MORE SERIOUS NOT JUST DOING THINGS FOR FUN TO PRANK PEOPLE

FOR, YOU KNOW, TO MAKE THEMSELVES LAUGH AT OTHER PEOPLE'S EXPENSE BUT TO TRY AND

GIVE IT MORE OF A KIND OF ACTIVIST DIRECTION.

>> Jon: THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY HAVE HAVE A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR.

I CAN'T SEE HOW THAT WOULD IN ANYWAY CAUSE AN ISSUE

>> THEY WERE TROLL BAIT.

Reporter: WHO IS THAT?

TROLLING IS WHEN YOU PULL A PRANK ON SOMEONE TO TRY AND GET AN EMOTIONAL REACTION.

THAT'S WHAT ANONYMOUS WAS DOING WITH SCIENTOLOGY.

THEY WERE POKING AT THEM AND RAIDING THEIR WEB SIGHT SIGHS.

THE MORE SCIENTOLOGY FOUGHT BACK, THE MORE ANONYMOUS KEPT GOING.

THAT WAS THEIR BIGGEST RAID UP UNTIL THAT POINT.

>> Jon: ARE THERE ANYWHERE NEAR AS SOME'S TICKETED AS THESE GUYS

IN TERMS OF THEIR COMPUTER AGILITY?

>> WELL THAT'S ONE THING I WANTED TO MAKE A POINT OF IN THE

BOOK WAS THAT, YOU KNOW, IN THE NEWS MEDIA WE HAVE THIS IMPRESSION OF ANONYMOUS AS BEING

A BIG MAN HE HAVE LENT CALCULATING ORGANIZATION WHEN ACTUALLY MOST OF THEM AREN'T HACKERS.

THEY'RE JUST PEOPLE WHO HAVE GROWN UP WITH THE INTERNET.

THEY UNDERSTAND ON-LINE CULTURE REALLY WELL.

>> Jon: YOU DON'T NEED TO HAVE A... YOU DON'T NEED TO BE ABLE

TO GO IN TO CODE AND BE LIKE BLUE CODE OR RED CODE.

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

IT'S NOT AT THAT LEVEL?

YOU CAN DO THIS WITH MORE BASIC KNOWLEDGE

>> YOU HAVE A PEOPLE WHO ARE THE CORE CONSTITUENTS WHO ARE SKILLD HACKERS.

MOST OF THEM ARE THERE TO HELP ALMOST PROMOTE THE NAME.

THERE ARE ALSO LOTS OF LEGAL WAYS THAT YOU CAN HAVE DIGITAL ACTIVISM.

BUT A LOT OF... YOU KNOW,

THERE'S FREE WEB TOOLS YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THAT WILL AUTOMATE A WEB ATTACK FOR YOU.

>> Jon: REALLY?

YOU CAN STEAL DATA FROM A WEBSITE

>> Jon: GET ME WEB-ATTACK AND I WILL JUST DO IT?

>> PRETTY MUCH.

Jon: THAT'S WILD.

YOU CAN WRITE THIS DOWN.

Jon: I DON'T THINK I'M GOING TO DO IT BECAUSE I'M SURE LIKE

KNOWING ME IT WOULD BE LIKE A GUY IS THAT A BAZOOKA.

WHICH END DO YOU (POWE).

I WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO

>> ON YOUR NEW FACE BOOK PAGE Jon: I'M SURE GOVERNMENTS OR SOME OTHER ORGANIZATIONS HAVE

VERY SOPHISTICATED TECHNOLOGY AS WELL.

DO THEY FEAR THAT TYPE OF TECHNOLOGY, YOU KNOW, COMING BACK ON THEM TO SOME EXTENT?

>> I DON'T THINK, IF YOU MEAN OUR GOVERNMENT IS AFRAID OF ANONYMOUS

>> Jon: NO, NO, NO, THE KIDS...

SOME OF THESE ARE NOT... THEY'RE JUST GOOD AT SOCIAL NETWORKING.

ARE THEY AFRAID OF THE KIND OF HIGH-TECH WEIRD STUFF THAT WE DO IN THE C.I.A. AND THAT KIND OF

STUFF AFFECTING THEM?

>> IT'S A VERY PARANOID WORLD IN ANONYMOUS.

THERE WAS A LOT OF HABITUAL LYING AND PEOPLE PUTTING ON FALSE IDENTITIES

>> Jon: WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT NOW OR ANONYMOUS?

>> YOU COULD SAY IT ABOUT BOTH THINGS.

ONE OF MY KEY INTERVIEWEES WAS,

YOU KNOW, PUTTING THEMSELVES ACROSS AS A 16-YEAR-OLD GIRL.

THEY WERE USING THAT IDENTITY FOR YEARS.

>> Jon: IT'S A CRAZY...

IT'S ALL ABOUT MANIPULATING PEOPLE'S PERCEPTIONS.

THAT PROBABLY IS THE BIGGEST POWER OF ANONYMOUS.

PEOPLE THINK IT'S HACKING BUT ACTUALLY IT'S NOT.

IT'S THEIR ABILITY TO CREATE THIS MIRAGE OF POWER AND SCALE AND FEAR AS WELL.

>> Jon: WILD.

INCREDIBLE STORY.

WE ARE ANONYMOUS.

ON THE BOOK SHELVES NOW.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

( APPLAUSE )

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