The Anonymous Assault On ISIS Is Hurting More Than It's Helping

from the well-he-sounded-like-a-terrorist dept

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, portions of Anonymous decided to "launch multiple operations" against the jackass collective that is ISIS/Daesh. Dubbed #OpISIS, the group's self-declared "biggest operation ever" has predominately involved posting what the group claims are ISIS affiliated Twitter accounts to Pastebin. These "ISIS affiliated" users are then reported to Twitter using a "Twatter Reporter" script being circulated among some members of the collective. In a video, Anonymous crows that the group has been responsible for bringing 20,000 ISIS-related social media accounts offline:
Except there's a major problem with the latest Anonymous campaign. A large number of the accounts they're suspending have absolutely nothing to do with ISIS. A review of the banned accounts by Ars Technica found that large number of the accounts were banned simply for using Arabic, with many ordinary Palestinian, Chechan and Kurdish users caught in the crossfire. Similarly, some of the banned accounts were trying to troll the religious cult. And there's indications that many in the group aren't even sure who they're supposed to be targeting:
"Meanwhile, some of the people coming to the IRC chat channel associated with the operation don't seem to really understand what's going on. One person logging into the channel asked, "Who's ISIS?" The people managing the channel also demanded that others only speak English in the chat and not "clutter up the channel with only mandarin or Spanish or something."
Twitter insiders meanwhile have commented off the record that the list Anonymous has compiled is a bit of a joke:
"A spokesperson for Twitter, who asked not to be quoted by name, told the Daily Dot that the lists generated by Anonymous are not being used by the company, saying research has found them to be “wildly inaccurate.”

“Users flag content for us through our standard reporting channels, we review their reports manually, and take action if the content violates our rules,” the spokesperson said, adding: “We don't review anonymous lists posted online, but third party reviews have found them to be wildly inaccurate and full of academics and journalists."
And while the group's behavior has been held up by Presidential candidates like Ben Carson as a "model" of how to deal with terrorist groups, this kind of indiscriminate, misinformed hysteria (like oh, trying to ban all Syrian refugees based on false media reports) arguably aids ISIS more than it hurts it. Well aware of this fact, some splinter Anonymous groups (like GhostSec) have started more quietly forwarding their findings to the U.S. government. Other members of Anonymous find cooperating with the government intolerable for obvious reasons:
"It seems rather foolish to me to be aiding our mortal enemies, who lock up and even torture Anons — in a fight against an evil that they themselves actually created. If the USA and Europe were willing to release our Anon POW's, and agree to stop attacking us - in exchange for our rather ample assistance against ISIS, well - that might be different. Until then, I say let NATO and the USA fight their own monsters. At least the resources they will need to dedicated to hunting ISIS can not be used to hunt Anons."
So as usual, the headlessness that helps keep Anonymous alive as an ideal often winds up being its own worst enemy when it comes to coordination and quality control. That's not to say that Anonymous members can't contribute intel, disrupt some online ISIS capabilities, or act as an occasional propaganda counterweight. The group is, after all, helping things out by rick rolling pro ISIS hashtags:
But beyond that, given the lack of any centralized jihadhist mainframe to be DDoS'd, #OpISIS is limited in what it can actually accomplish. Effective international espionage requires a lot more tactical coordination than the leaderless, mythological meme appears capable of, and the kind of societal problems that are driving angry, disenfranchised young people to join the cult of ISIS go much deeper than the hacktivist amoeba's tendrils reach.

Filed Under: anonymous, isis


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 1:10pm

    Good news, bad news

    Good news... a worldwide, secret organization seeks to subvert IS!

    Bad news... it's just Anonymous again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 4:28pm

      Re: Good news, bad news

      They don't want to subvert, just Rickroll and DDoS. Ghostnet wants to subvert, and is finding Anonymous' actions are preventing them from doing so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:27pm

    "...this kind of indiscriminate, misinformed hysteria..."

    Just for a second there I thought you were talking about the US government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:27pm

    "...this kind of indiscriminate, misinformed hysteria..."

    Just for a second there I thought you were talking about the US government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 2:45pm

    We did it Reddit! We found the Boston Bomber!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 3:08pm

    Mob justice

    There is never justice in mob justice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 3:49pm

    Causes

    the kind of societal problems that are driving angry, disenfranchised young people to join the cult of ISIS

    Please don't just repeat the tired old (Saudi sponsored) politically correct myths about the causes of this problem. Techdirt can do better than that! Try listening to people who have actually lived in the middle east but aren't muslim - especially ex muslims. They know what they are talking about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 4:26pm

      Re: Causes

      Do you have anyone you want to suggest?

      Meanwhile, there are still tons of angry, disenfranchised young people joining ISI*. That doesn't make it the cause, that's just a symptom.

      The causes are many, and include access to information.

      Along with listening to non-Muslims in the middle east, try listening to people who have lived in the middle east and don't any more, and ARE Muslim. That way you'll have a frame of reference that makes some kind of sense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Nov 2015 @ 4:55pm

        Causes of Daesh recruitment

        You know, no one has yet taken me up on the Stop Bombing Them suggestion.

        So long as they have the tragedy spigot flowing hard and fast they're going to get recruits. Twitter just extends the range of their rallying banners.

        I guess over here we just love blowing shit up and killing ethnics more than we hate terror.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 3:22am

          Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

          You know, no one has yet taken me up on the Stop Bombing Them suggestion.

          I would suggset stop allowing Saudi Arabia to fund Wahhabism worldwide.

          The reason Islamists hate America is NOT because you bomb them. You bombed Serbia but no Serbian terrosists emerged. You bombed Serbia on behalf of Kosovo muslims - and they have actually been active in terrorism.

          The reason they hate America is because America is a successful powerful country that is not Islamic.

          They hated Byzantium for 700 years for the same reason. The only thing that stopped them hating it was when they finally conquered it (after the west had fatally weakened is in the catastropic 4th crusade).

          The only way they will stop hating the US is if the US becomes an Islamic state or vanishes from the face of the earth.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:45pm

            Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

            I'm pretty sure that Coalition bombing campaigns push otherwise moderate Muslims towards extremism when we bomb their families out of existence.

            And we do that with glee and enthusiasm. In that regard being that the US has become a country that bombs indiscriminately, that has dispensed with due process, and even tortures, we've become as much the monster that the extremists have declared the US to be.

            At this point we're merely different-colored chess-pieces.

            Yes, there will always be some extremists, much as we have them here in the US, but there's a difference between whether they're merely a criminal element or a faction.

            Bombing them is what drives more moderate people to the extremists. Our current hostility has assured that everyone knows someone who's been murdered by US weapons.

            Of course we should expect reprisals. If your family was killed wouldn't you want to get back and those what got you?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 3:43am

          Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

          no one has yet taken me up on the Stop Bombing Them suggestion.

          Not everywhere we bombed or invaded has responded with terrorism.

          Unfortunately being a non islamic large successful country is quite enough to provoke their ire. You don't have to do anything.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            GEMont (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 11:45am

            Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

            Yep, they hate the USA because we have SUVs and color TVs.

            Ask any moron, and they'll dutifully regurgitate this pathetic propaganda meme every time, because its the only answer - delivered daily via TV by such geniuses as Ben Carson and Donald Trump - that makes Americans look like the good guys in a war the USG created, against an enemy the USG manufactured.

            The fact that the USA has bombed a few nations into the stone age who DID NOT thereafter field terrorists, only means that the bombing and the follow up extermination and elimination of social infrastructure like power and water, was extremely successful.

            ---

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

              delivered daily via TV by such geniuses as Ben Carson and Donald Trump - that makes Americans look like the good guys in a war the USG created, against an enemy the USG manufactured.

              Not my line at all. I agree will all you say about US policy - the difference is that, bad as US policy is, it isn't actually the root cause.

              Remember that the Ayatollah called the US "the great satan" back in the 1970's, before most of these policies had happened.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                GEMont (profile), 30 Nov 2015 @ 4:03pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

                You might want to re-check your history.

                The USA has been bombing tiny countries into the stone age since World War Two ended. American "interests" have been instrumental in eliminating any place on earth that even tried to do real democracy, mainly because it would interfere with corporate exploitation of their resources.

                The USA was no "sweeter" back in the 70's. It simply had better PR and did fewer public displays of terrorism - the internet sort of put an end to its ability to destroy small countries "secretly", "quietly" and "in defense of democracy".

                Rebels, by whatever name you wish to use, do not grow out of thin air, nor do they suddenly appear in one nation because another nation has color TVs and SUVs, no matter what Benny Carson or Donny Trump might spew.

                To make a terrorist, you need to destroy his home, kill his wife and kids, bomb his city/town/village into dust, poison his farmlands and his wells, and burn his animals into charcoal lumps. Then, if there is any left-over munitions or land mines laying about once your done, he and his friends might be able to jury-rig a bomb out of the parts and blow something up that belongs to the invaders.

                To put it another way, if Canada invaded the USA and managed to infiltrate all levels of government through subterfuge and disguise and then began a program of elimination of Americans via internment camps, rationing of food and shelter, elimination of jobs and sources of income, and separation of families to prevent rebellion, while secretly and systematically killing off all males over the age of 15, Americans bent on revenge against the invaders would be called Rebels or Freedom Fighters by other Americans, but the Canux would label them Terrorists.

                You earn the terrorists you get.

                ---

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:22pm

            Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

            Not everywhere we bombed or invaded has responded with terrorism.

            Wait, did you just meant to imply an argument that terrorism can't be motivated by reprisal to bombing because some don't necessarily retaliate?

            And you don't see the logical failure in that?

            Do you want me to give you a hint?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

              terrorism can't be motivated by reprisal to bombing because some don't necessarily retaliate? And you don't see the logical failure in that?

              Well it is usually up to the person who is proposing a correlation to justify it by presenting the evidence. Of course terrorism could be motivated by reprisal for bombing but you haven't proved it and I have presented a counter-example.

              The counter example doesn't amount to a proof - I never said it did - but it does suggest other factors at work.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Wendy Cockcroft, 27 Nov 2015 @ 6:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

                If that's true why hate America more than Russia or China? They're powerful. I daresay it's the Western decadence they have a problem with - we're a bad influence on the kids, etc.

                Okay, fine. But being the metaphorical bully biker wearing Ray Bans with a cigarette dangling off his lower lip ain't enough to tip the scales. The bombing and constant interference in local and regional politics makes them wobble but believe me, when ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorists try to win converts they cite Western atrocities as a primary reason to take part in violent acts — to get revenge on behalf of the victims.

                Uriel is right.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Richard (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 5:49am

          Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

          So long as they have the tragedy spigot flowing hard and fast they're going to get recruits.

          That may provide a mechanism but it isn't a reason. The immediate reason why people rebel is never because they have suddenly become more oppressed (often the reverse is true).

          People rebel because they CAN.

          After the black death labourers were in short supply. This increased their bargaining power and allowed the peasant's revolt to happen.

          In the late 50's/early 60's young people were in short supply (birthrate was low during the war). This increased their power within society and enabled the era of student protest to begin.

          In the 1960's the higher birthrate amongst catholics in N. Ireland had changed the demographic. This increased their power within the population and enabled the "troubles" to start.

          In none of these cases did the "bad treatment" of the "oppressed" group increase immediately before the problems began and in some it was actually reducing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Richard (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 5:56am

            Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

            Addendum:

            Oppressive copyright laws existed long before most people started to see them as a big problem. Most of the problematic extensions had already happened long before anti-copyright activism started. New since ~1980 has been the increased ability of people to fight against such laws. We now have the means to route around them and protest against them. Once again the change is not in the level of oppression - it lies in the ability to oppose it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:28am

            Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

            In the late 50's/early 60's young people were in short supply (birthrate was low during the war). This increased their power within society and enabled the era of student protest to begin.

            Say what now?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Richard (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 10:53am

              Re: Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

              Your graph shows my point perfectly.

              The critical period is the period immediately before the baby boom - the dip from 1929-~1945.

              And of course the bay boomers following along immediately behind increased the demand in all sorts of professions - especially in education - which in the UK forced the government to expand the universities and provide mainrenance grants.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:50pm

            Oppressed people don't rebel -- What?

            Perhaps you're not familiar with COIN philosophy. But greater scholars than you have noted that a legitimate grievance is the strongest fuel for insurrection.

            And oppression (aka tragedy in the form of loved ones getting injured or killed) is absolutely a legitimate grievance.

            Are you being absurd on purpose?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Richard (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:30pm

              Re: Oppressed people don't rebel -- What?

              a legitimate grievance is the strongest fuel for insurtherection.

              Unfortunately the facts don't fit your theory. Of course you have to perceive a grievance BUT it is also necessary to perceive some chance of success.

              Many people throughout the world and through history have had legitimate grievances but have not rebelled until they could see some chance of success. Good examples are the peoples of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania etc who suffered for centuries under the Ottomans but were not in a position to rebel successfully until the Ottomans had declined and Britain, France and Russia were in a position to help out.



              But greater scholars than you

              Nice combination of argument from authority and ad hominem. Two logical fallacies in one sentence - good work!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 27 Nov 2015 @ 5:56am

          Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

          In a world where violence is considered a comprehensive solution, don't be surprised that "Stop bombing them, already"! doesn't get the attention it deserves.

          Get the profit out of weaponry and see that change!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2015 @ 11:10am

            Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

            Violence isn't the solution - but neither is it the root cause of the problem. Even if it was it doesn't necessarily mean that it might not become necessary in order to restrain greater evil. This was necessary for the Nazis in WW2 (though not - as it turned out - for communism).

            Religious minorities in IS sphere of influence are being enslaved, tortured and slaughtered. What do propose to do? Stand aside and watch?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 3:40am

        Re: Re: Causes

        Do you have anyone you want to suggest?
        You might start with Aung San Suu Kyi and ask exactly why this widely respected Nobel peace prize winner has banned Musilms from standing for her party.

        Along with listening to non-Muslims in the middle east, try listening to people who have lived in the middle east and don't any more, and ARE Muslim.

        I know plenty of them - and their voices are well heard anyway. After every incident they appear in the media to explain why it has nothing to do with them. That is what most of us want to hear and the confirmation bias works just fine.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 24 Nov 2015 @ 4:06pm

    So, the "op" might better be called #PinTheTailOnTheDonkey.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2015 @ 8:29pm

    Thank goodness they aren't out executing innocent civilians. Something I am sure you are aware our government has had a hand in. We rank right up there with Iran, North Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 3:11am

    manure

    the most dangerous superstition: the religion of sheep

    is not Anonymous an idea??
    based on which a totally random and dynamic group of random hackers worldwide
    randomly manage to join swarms to do some random mob justice???

    did I say random???
    this is not a deterministic system
    it is a swarm of people who have a life, and interests, and opinions... and do not follow the religion of "authority".

    just trying to force the idea that they have an absolute opinion is asinine.

    they can partially join to attack someone one minute just to turn around and fight someone else the next minute or just log off to go to home/work/rave party/watch the new leaked GOT/etc

    the information flow and the human factor makes it so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 5:59am

    Indiscriminate, misinformed hysteria

    Almost every action taken or proposed by government since 9/11 fits the description, "...indiscriminate, misinformed hysteria...".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 11:25am

    Divide and Conquer, from Within.

    "And while the group's behavior has been held up by Presidential candidates like Ben Carson as a "model" of how to deal with terrorist groups..."

    While I have long suspected that the "silence" echoing from the halls of justice concerning anonymous meant that the CIAF BIN SADOJ had finally infiltrated the 'dis'-organization, this comment from one of the looniest assholes to ever stand up and be counted is in my opinion, proof that Anonymous is utterly useless and its roster has been generally replaced with CIAF BNIN SADOJ operatives.

    If Ben Carson says Anonymous is an effective tool against terrorism, then Anonymous is just another malfunctioning branch of the federal government now.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 3:09pm

    I do love how Techdirt can say with absolute certainty that "The Anonymous Assault On ISIS Is Hurting More Than It's Helping". I was trying to spot the empirical data, but I was not able to find the link measuring harm.

    WTG Team!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 3:42pm

      Re:

      I do love how many, many years after they were invented you still don't understand what an opinion blog is. Apparently you struggle with the blindingly obvious too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 4:31pm

        From the About Us page

        "the Techdirt blog uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies' ability to innovate and grow."

        Doesn't sound very "opiniony". Proven...Analysis .

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 26 Nov 2015 @ 2:16am

        Re: Re:

        An opinion is an opinion. A direct statement of "fact" isn't an opinion at all. The headline is direct and without any qualifiers or suggestion that it's anything other than a proven fact. No "appears" or "might" or "we think" about it, just a straight statement of fact.

        Techdirt is an opinion blog, accept when it's not an opinion blog - and it's hard to determine when that happens.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2015 @ 4:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Techdirt is an opinion blog, accept when it's not an opinion blog - and it's hard to determine when that happens."

          If you accept it, does it really matter?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 5:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Going by Whatever's post history, it's clear he doesn't accept many opinions outside his own.

            The only opinion he might differ on might be this: if you were to be fucked by a copyright in the ass, do you ask it to pull out or give you a creampie?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 26 Nov 2015 @ 10:25am

      Re:

      For someone who has been opining for years now on this blog, without ever offering anything remotely resembling "empirical evidence" in support of your opinions, methinks ye do indeed be waxing more facetious than normal.

      Did something said above strike a nerve? :)

      PS: Blog = b-log = Bitch Log, not empirical data repository

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    wergwergwer, 14 Oct 2016 @ 7:56am

    ergt

    jbkjbk

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.