The Enemy of My Enemy

…may only be that.

That’s my initial reaction to news that Anonymous, the amorphous online hacking collective, has declared war on ISIS.  It sounds like good news, but I’m not positive that it is, and I’m certainly not positive that it is good news in the long run.  Certainly given the large number of targets Anonymous has chosen over the years, I think that our encouragement should be restrained, at best.

The reason is the typical one associated with any form of vigilante justice.  Justice may be served in the short term, but the longer term effects can be greater injustice than before.  People taking the law into their own hands – or creating their own law – is always a dangerous thing, even if it seems right in the short term.

So, while I’m happy that this may hamper ISIS in some ill-defined, intangible way, I certainly don’t think we ought to hail Anonymous as a hero.  If anything, we should wonder why a bunch of hackers have taken upon themselves to do what more legal entities should consider doing.


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