Anonymous bullies Sony and Nintendo over SOPA support

Filed Under: Featured, Law & order

PiracyAnonymous, which last week threatened to pulverize the Playstation Network because of Sony's support for the proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), backed off its consumer-irking belligerence and this week shifted to threatening just the executives and sites of Sony and Nintendo.

Anonymous—or people purporting to be members of the group—last week uploaded a video to Twitter in which the group threatened to "destroy" Sony's network because of the company's support for SOPA. From the Anonymous video:

This act will halt online businesses and restrict access to many sites for many users. Supporting SOPA is like trying to throw an entire company off a bridge. Your support to the act is a signed death warrant to Sony Company and associates. Therefore, yet again, we have decided to destroy your network. We will dismantle your phantom from the Internet. Prepare to be extinguished. Justice will be swift and it will be for the people, whether some like it or not.

PlayStation controllerThe "yet again" refers to an April 2011 hack of the PlayStation Network: an attack that kicked the network offline for over a month and royally peeved consumers.

Looking to avoid a consumer-baiting repeat of what came to be known as PSNgate, Anonymous this time around has backed off the annihilate-your-phantom promise and instead has asked members to restrict the operation to defacing sites and publishing information on Sony workers.

One commenter on a Playstationlifestyle report, Malus, noted that s/he's "sick of Anonymous getting involved in everything." Malus poses this question:

Of all the times they’ve every gotten themselves involved, when has it ever worked out for anyone? All they ever do make things worse.

Take the Occupy movement. It hasn’t gone anywhere to make anything better. All it’s done is piss off even more people and get many more hurt. Anonymous may or may not be behind it, but they did contribute.

Allow me to make a prediction: Anonymous attacks Sony. Winds up having to shut down PSN. People all over get pissed off and demand blood. Whose blood? Definitely not Sony’s.

Whether Anonymous has had positive impact on anything whatsoever is an interesting question. I would suggest that both Occupy and Anonymous, both populist, decentralized movements, have had profound impact in their respective, and sometimes overlapping, spheres.

One thing that Anonymous has emphatically not done is to intimidate Sony into changing its stance on SOPA, though news reports about Sony's backing away from SOPA support have been rife. (A bit of sloppy reporting resulted in those reports; thanks to Techdirt for pointing it out.)

But regarding what the two populist movements have accomplished, the Occupy Wall Street movement, for one, resulted in the creation of an ad hoc, Internet-like network free of government or corporate interference.

Occupy also resulted in the innovation of a technology-free form of information dispersal: hand signals used to negotiate consensus and to overcome interference from police who used bullhorns to disrupt meetings.

Anonymous, at the very least, has cast a glaring spotlight not only on the Mexican drug cartel and its corresponding, corrupt political allies, but also on the insufficient security that even security firms such as Stratfor use with its customer data.

Anonymous has made strong companies quake.

But bullies do that to everybody, not just the bad guys.

Stop bullyingThese bullies have also made small, solid security firms quake. Even smaller security firms conducting impactful research have muted their voices following Anonymous's attack on HBGary Federal.

SOPA is an affront to the Internet.

But bullying companies into dropping support for SOPA does not equate to a free, open Internet.

Anonymous, back off. Let consumers handle this, and let us do it without bullying.

What do you think: Do we need Anonymous's strong-arm tactics to stop SOPA?

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21 Responses to Anonymous bullies Sony and Nintendo over SOPA support

  1. DJ Mikey · 1339 days ago

    I for one, am sick to death of the drivel that is 'Anonymous'! They are bullies, through and through. They say stuff, don't back themselves with any real proof or evidence, and then act on our (the general public) behalf. Well. they are not acting on my behalf, they are sneaky, underhanded cyber thugs, who don't have the guts to come out in the open, and hold the cyberspace to ransom. "Justice will be swift, and it will be for the people, whether some like it or not"! Sounds like a threat to me, and indicates that they don't care what we the public want, just themselves and their own pathetic, petty little agendas. I am not afraid of them, just the damage they do others......Go away, the same way you came, anonymously.......

    • jisforjosh · 1339 days ago

      I feel the same way about Occupy, it says it represents 99% of the people, but I think they are nothing but a bunch of angry people who think socialism is gonna make the world better. It won't!! In fact, it's gonna make everything worse!! And to top it all off, those corporate execs don't care, because they would love socialism, would make paying off the government to do their dirty work easier -_-

      • Dan · 1338 days ago

        Socialism would not make their dirty work easier. In fact, if you understand what socialism actually is it would do the opposite.

      • Jason · 1338 days ago

        Corporate execs would love what we already have since they currently control our government through lobbying and providing high paying jobs to former government representatives. True Socialism would take that power away because corporations would no longer be "people"; only actual people would be "people."

    • Jason · 1338 days ago

      The "Occupy" movement does things publicly. In many cases, they are simply ignored, but in some highly publicized cases, they are wrongfully abused and arrested by the law enforcement personnel who should be protecting them. That's what happens when you take your controversial opinions out into the open air: you are attacked and ridiculed by the nation that should be giving you your chance to speak. The Anonymous folks who are outed almost always end up being arrested whether or not they are actually masterminds or just peons so they can be made an example of. Yeah, that the government I trust to provide protection when I want to voice a controversial opinion.

  2. ohyeah · 1339 days ago

    I Love Anonymous, I hope they continue.

  3. Mike · 1339 days ago

    We need some group that can counter the limitless power of the rich. If it breaks a few eggs, then so be it. I notice all the people upset about disruption of the Playstation network have been using that to turn themselves into lotus-eaters that lets all our rights slip away

  4. Mitchell · 1339 days ago

    Anonymous has done some good and some bad, but bringing down the public face of acompany is wrong (psngate). In a way they're vigilantes, killing every robber, druggy, and rapist, but not giving a damn who else gets mowed down in the process. They need to focus on the private side of their targets and bring down the walls of the castle, not burn the whole village; if you follow the analogy. If they stop disrupting the lives of those they want to help, and focus on a major goal of underdog power (no more lulz attacks and porn spamfests like in australia- leave that to lulzsec) they will command much more respect and support

  5. Joel · 1338 days ago

    To say "let the consumers handle this" is an illogical statement, by definition those who are part of Anonymous are consumers. Whilst they cannot claim to represent every consumer who does use the Internet, they've proven that the every day person shouldn't be ignored and for that I thank them. A little more tact with their threats and actions would only do well in their public opinion and their overall usefulness and I hope that their backing down from destroying psn is the beginning of that.

  6. anoin submied · 1338 days ago

    It's sad how uneducated this entire thing is. Your calling people who are fighting for our rights bullies? Sony is supporting Sopa which is akin to book burning the biggest book ever-the internet. You're entitled to your opinion NS but this sounds more like a paid for propaganda piece. If Anon had somehow gone up against IBM for supplying counting machines to the Nazis-would you stil argue that ANon were bullies or would you say right on mate! Corporations likje OSny are ruining our world our lives the very fabric of our cultures. Read IBM and the Holocaust...corporations are not people they are machines that will destroy us for profit and they should be bullied -by the people and by governments. Since the latter doesn't exist anymore except as lapdogs of the corps, its now up to the people to coerce them in rhe right direction.

  7. trlkly · 1338 days ago

    Bullying people who do wrong is good. It sucks, but the only way to make someone powerful do something good is to hurt them repeatedly until they have to.

    Bullying little Billy who doesn't deserve it--Good. Bullying multimillion dollar industries that are trying to take away our freedom of speech and make a mockery of our court system: good.

    As for the PSN thing--it's kinda your fault for backing the company that keeps attacking your civil rights. Remember, you can't even sue them if they fuck you over now unless you're rich enough to do it by yourself. You signed a contract giving them that right. You don't want to get hurt the fleas of collateral damage, don't lie in bed with dogs.

  8. someone3lse · 1338 days ago

    We need a group like anonymous to stand up for the people. The people in the united states have no backbone when it comes to issues. We let the rich dictate everything we do anymore its getting old. We wont even boycott gasoline for a day let alone make a stand for anything else. If SOPA passes it will end the internet as we know it. We are the first to talk about China and all the Middle east countries and there internet filtering policies. A bit crazy really. While in the US big content is evidently now running the show. Enough is enough folks these guys may do some bad things sometimes, but doesn't the government do that everyday ?

  9. Steve · 1338 days ago

    The Article is right and pulls no punches. When you look back Anon's efforts when they get involved in trying to bully political change they do not succeed.

    Regardless Sony is the wrong target here, they do not make laws your government does so go lobby your representatives.

    Still if Anon wants to hack Sony again I am sure it will work out like last time when other hackers angry at their entertainment being forced offline will do everything to publically out them just like the lulzsec crew.

  10. Jo Ho · 1338 days ago

    It must be one of the most amusing statements going, to say that a small group of people with only their computing skills as assets, are "bullying" a mega-corporation like Sony.
    I mean, what can Sony call upon to protect itself?

  11. Sean · 1338 days ago

    Do we need Anonymous's strong-arm tactics to stop SOPA?
    No, and Anonymous hacking Sony isn't going to help.

    Do we need Anonymous strong-arm tactics to sure how reckless big companies are with securing personal data, and force them to improve it?
    Yes, because Sony and other companies seem incapable of improving otherwise, and no-one else seems interested in forcing the issue.

  12. pleasesavesony · 1338 days ago

    Most people only know of Anon from the brief bs attacks on corporations that feed off peoples souls and suck their life dry. Hell even for the time it took the network down for a month, it was probably the most active the lazy ass nation got up and did something. Even if it was just stomping around their bedroom and pouting. It got their blood circulating.

    You need to follow up a little more. Anon has been involved in a lot of things. International protests. Shady Politics. Rights that have been trampled. Showing people glimpses of unfair and hidden information. Read up and you'll find too that not all acts claimed by Anon are actual acts performed by the core of Anon.

    I don't agree with everything Anon does. There are some things that are a waste of time. There are some things that I feel cause more damage but if 10 people are impacted and only just one person wakes up, opens their eyes and finds something out that they were not aware of before then I will gladly be their casualty of war. I can think of a few things that I've learned not from Anon but from the info that was put out by Anon and the news reports discussing Anon whether I agreed or disagreed with whatever action Anon took.

    Ron Paul is a good example. I have no intentions to vote Ron Paul but because of all the links Anon has been pushing showing major media clearly hiding the results doesn't make me more interested in Ron Paul, it interests me that the media could do what they do and the public clearing swallows it without noticing. I haven't looked into Ron Paul any more but I have began to listen and wonder what else do they feed me. Oh yea, SOPA how could I forget that after taste.

    Their are bad eggs in the bunch but I for one will take the good with the bad and deal with the bad eggs mixed into Anon as long as there is at least one person seeing paste the not being able to play their PS3. Hurting Sony's network will upset the customers who will get mad and hopefully consider jumping ship even if they are upset with Anon but this scares Sony into backing out of SOPA, lowering prices and securing their networks which all protects you anyway.

    Mad b/c Sony's network went down. Are kidding? GTFO. Yemen, Baraini, Syria, the Occupy Movement....These are the real games you should be reading about.

  13. Anonymous still have some power but they will lose it eventually.

  14. Matthew Kolasinski · 1336 days ago

    Anonymous 'bullying' Sony? Who's the real bully here? A rag-tag disorganized band of citizen activists doing what they can to ward off what they see as an attack on Internet freedom, and a pretty serious attack at that, or Sony throwing it's corporate weight into the arena of internet politics in favor of legislation which the average citizen, if aware of the legislation and possible and likely adverse consequences on things they thoroughly enjoy and would be strongly opposed to if they knew about it? What you've actually got here is a bunch of mighty corporations bullying Capitol Hill into getting SOPA done. That's some serious bullying. By comparison, Anonymous is a handfull of kids with propeller beanies and pea-shooters just trying to make as much noise about this as they can.

    While I fully appreciate the media industry's concerns, SOPA is not the solution.

  15. Anonymous · 1327 days ago

    For those of you who say the "Occupy" and "Anonymous" are just bullies and have done nothing good and that they sound like a threat, is because you are blind to what is going on behind the scenes. You obviously don't keep up with all the laws being created and signed into effect, not to mention they all tie in hand and hand to eventually take away your rights. Do a little more research on NDAA, the enemy expatriation act, SOPA (Read the actual proposed bill) and a few more that are coming out and tell me if you think "Anonymous" and "Occupy" are bullies than. Its highly recommened you stop speaking blindly and start following this country's events as a US citizen and be concerned for once.

  16. Anonymous · 1327 days ago

    I will not support SOPA, and no one here should. It is the most well written form of CENSORSHIP, the very thing our forefathers did not want, and it goes against the constitution as well. The average citizen will not know any better however because it is worded very complex and for that reason goes by un-noticed until people actually start pointing this crap out. As for Anonymous backing up what they say, again do your research. Many government agents, companies, and even SONY will tell you that these guys have made these organizations feel like they were "dreaming" like it was "unreal" and ultimately created a nightmare for a lot of people. They have released credit card info to the public before and infiltrated more than you will ever know. They sit by quietly for the most part but in times like these, we can expect to see a lot more from them. Don't say I didn't tell you so, when SHTF

  17. joe name · 1319 days ago

    More power to them. At least someone is doing something to make people aware of the corrupt system. Ok, you can all go home and watch your favorite manipulated news cast eating your healthy high carb dinner LOL

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.