One of the most interesting aspects of Anonymous' BART protest Monday is the guy -- or girl -- who claims to have listened to BART's radio communications and tweeted information to the protesters doesn't even live in the Bay Area.
Such is the claim of @AnonyOps, a major Anonymous Tweeter, who has been voraciously tweeting about Anonymous' assault on BART this week.
AnonyOps wrote an online manifesto yesterday, "Anonymous is not Unanimous,"
about how nobody speaks for the entire movement. Specifically, AnonyOps believes that the hacks of the BART system have been "grossly irresponsible," as he or she told us in an online chat yesterday. "What is a bad idea is violating the privacy of people, when you stand for a cause that seeks to protect the online privacy of yourself and others."
Here's our discussion, edited for clarity.
How did you go about organizing [the protest] Monday?
AnonyOps: "It was all fairly organic. Typical social media strategy -- give info to the biggest bullhorns, spread it around, and have everyone retweet."
I see. Do you know anything about who was in charge of the myBART.gov hack?
"No, I wish I did. I'd give them a piece of my mind. The data leak was grossly irresponsible. I'd like to believe that whoever did it THOUGHT they were doing Anonymous a service. But they were wrong. Anonymous is proprivacy. We fight for the users, as it were. To hack into BART and leak the information shows that the person(s) involved don't fully understand the consequences of their actions."
What did you think of Wednesday's BART Police Officers Association website hack?
"The same. Generally speaking, people aren't bad. These officers aren't to blame. The process is, the system is. The system that allows a man to be shot without resisting. The process by which these actions are allowed need to be attacked -- attacked through protest, media exposure, and civil disobedience, if required. Violating the privacy of people isn't the answer. These leaks just take away from the real good efforts."
You think on-the-ground protests are more effective?
"Take a look at what happened Monday. It was perfect. No arrests, no violence. News cycles have a way of making most people forget what happened yesterday. We'll be fighting against that as much as we can. As far as I'm concerned, even if we succeeded in increasing the appetite within the general public for peaceful protest, then it was a success."
So what is your primary point of contention: the BART cop shootings or the cell-phone reception issue?
"Both. Men died as a result of voluntary manslaughter. But to then try to quell a protest by taking a page out of [the] book of oppressive regimes in the Middle East? Unbelievable, and unAmerican."
"I also cry foul when prior restraint is shown on free speech. That's what I feel BART was trying to do by cutting cell service. It shot them in the foot. It "streisanded" them
. They wanted no coverage of the original protest planned last week, so they took actions to hide/stop it. What they got instead was Anonymous in their faces -- literally and digitally."
Have you caught wind of any other hacks on the way with OpBART?
"No, I think I've been pretty open about my distaste for those actions, and those people do well to steer clear."
If you want to see the full transcript, click to the next page.