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Many ask wonder at the very nature of Anonymous, single users or communities online that interact in an autonomous or coordinated way attacking websites of companies, public facilities and even newspapers. Everyone is talking about the aggression online on accounts and portals linked to the Jihad following the massacre at Charlie Hebdo. An act which has triggered off the most simple question: “Friends or foes”. This because amogst the folds of the web activity this acronym is still obscure and moves about in an undefined area, between legality and illegality. To interview them iso ne of the most complex tasks; they interact on forums, as groups, they feel like people who give advice; it wasn’t easy but we succeded in the end..

Let’s make it clear: once the forum had been found, it wasn’t enough just to say “Good morning, I’m a journalist” to ensure the users that had linked up that they could trust us. We were directed to a pad, or rather a sort of telematic block note created for the occasion, where we wrote the questions that we intended to ask them, so that they could consult and decide how to behave. But this too proved to be insufficient, they needed guarentees on the identity of the interviewer. I had to give them my name on twitter and facebook, and after having “pierced” – technical term to indicate entering the profile without a password – both profiles, began the interview. In the layman’s immagination, Anonymous is working “togther”, joint cooperation to fulfil an objective.

But as A-one declares (the name has been invented in order not to reveal the personal identity ), one should rather imagine a network, at least a city. “Not a physical place – A-one explained – but an environment where one wanders about, where there streets, where you could meet people, where you can talk, where you could exchange personal information, knowledge, but above all, where one can propose ‘attacks’, which are collected by ‘comrades’ who agree with theis cause”. So, even though one does not know the other, you cooperate: each offering his computer skills for the cause of his choice. There is no professional hierarchy , everyone does what he can, as legally as possible.

To join in there is no procedure to follow, no special “hiring”; of course– seeing that it is annonymous –you donot go ahead thanks to acquaintances. A person, simply from home, in front of the computer can choose to embrace the idea Anonymous, and the help that one can give is a lot, simply by sharing their post on social network, in order to increase the visibilità of their name and action. These people too, are Anonymous. The only way to enter into contact is through the web: through forum, social network, or for the more expert the deep web.

At this stage, it would almost be spontaneous to ask oneself how does one succeed in managing such a huge crowd in the absence of a hierarchy, if one adheres to ethical values or whether they are ‘loose dogs’ who under the mask of the group, choose to accomplsh actions that are little in line with their ideals: “Hacking is an arm, and as such can be used to do things which are socially useful or even just to act as an idiot”, declares A-two, a second interface who spoke to in Terris . However, their group trie sto exclude (at times even at a “dear cost”) those people who use their acqauaintances only for their own personal business. “We are waht we are because we watt o be useful and say the truth, if we choose to hack a certain site or we choose it because we need to post a message.”

Thinking back to Matrix it comes natural to think that myths exist, heroes in this world, but A-two points out that it is absolutely not like this: “ In our world there are neither myths or heroes, seeing that there are thousands of people behind just a sole mask. Everyone does what they can”. And he reveals to us a further secret: the people who participate are common laymen, “hidden” behind an apparently normal life a san employee, or more often than nota s programmers. The reason being, he confesses, “there are many ways to earn with hacking”, from bypassing Paypal sites, a blocking a pc which can only be unblocked on payment, obviously illegally.

Anonymous though is more than just this illegal smart tricks, according to their creed, they perceive it as a foundation that fights for justice. Additional declarations made by A-one, where he answers on what do the people around him think about the fact that he is a hacker, seems like bringing him back to reality. He says that he has no friends but only internet “mates”, because this has been his choice of life and that only parents really know his real identity, because a short while ago, policeburst into his home to arrest.

Thus, no matter how good the intentions be or how high the ideals are, hackering is a slap in the face to legality, which chooses to undertake paths as in the wild West, by taking “justice in their own hands”, probably as a direct consequence to the scarse faith they have in the institutions, or in retaliation to a world that looks as though it is incapable of keeping abreast with the demands of the up and coming generations.

Translation provided by Marina Stronati

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