A Is for Anonymous: How a Mysterious Hacker Collective Transformed the World

Bold Type: Hachette. Apr. 2020. 128p. ISBN 9781568588773. pap. $13.99. Rated: Teen+. nf
Kushner (Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D) and Shadmi (The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television) reveal the history of Anonymous, described by member named Commander X in the opening pages as “not a group, and it’s not a person. Specifically, it is the idea that all of us deserve freedom.” After explaining that hacktivism was born when hackers calling themselves the Cult of the Dead Cow refused to acquiesce to the Church of Scientology’s demands they stop criticizing them online, and how the earliest incarnation of Anonymous emerged through a 4chan forum, the authors focus their history on a series of Anonymous operations. In 2008, they gain notoriety in their own battle against Scientology. In 2010, Anonymous attacks Sony, resulting in a data breach that exposes the personal information of 24 million people. Members of Anonymous assist protesters in Egypt after the government disables internet access and cellular networks, target rapists in Ohio, and mobilize in Ferguson, MO, following the shooting of Michael Brown. Scenes of hacktivists sitting at their computers are made compelling by Shadmi’s clever use of surrealist imagery.
VERDICT A thought-provoking history of an oft-misunderstood subject, as well as the evolution of social protests over the past three decades.

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