Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

Overview

Here is the ultimate book on the worldwide movement of hackers, pranksters, and activists that operates under the non-name Anonymous, by the writer the Huffington Post says “knows all of Anonymous’ deepest, darkest secrets.”

Half a dozen years ago, anthropologist Gabriella Coleman set out to study the rise of this global phenomenon just as some of its members were turning to political protest and dangerous disruption (before Anonymous shot to fame as a key player in the battles ...

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Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

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This item will be available on November 4, 2014.
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Overview

Here is the ultimate book on the worldwide movement of hackers, pranksters, and activists that operates under the non-name Anonymous, by the writer the Huffington Post says “knows all of Anonymous’ deepest, darkest secrets.”

Half a dozen years ago, anthropologist Gabriella Coleman set out to study the rise of this global phenomenon just as some of its members were turning to political protest and dangerous disruption (before Anonymous shot to fame as a key player in the battles over WikiLeaks, the Arab Spring, and Occupy Wall Street). She ended up becoming so closely connected to Anonymous that the tricky story of her inside–outside status as Anon confidante, interpreter, and erstwhile mouthpiece forms one of the themes of this witty and entirely engrossing book.

The narrative brims with details unearthed from within a notoriously mysterious subculture, whose semi-legendary tricksters—such as Topiary, tflow, Anachaos, and Sabu—emerge as complex, diverse, politically and culturally sophisticated people. Propelled by years of chats and encounters with a multitude of hackers, including imprisoned activist Jeremy Hammond and the double agent who helped put him away, Hector Monsegur, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy is filled with insights into the meaning of digital activism and little understood facets of culture in the Internet age, including the history of “trolling,” the ethics and metaphysics of hacking, and the origins and manifold meanings of “the lulz.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/22/2014
In this eye-opening ethnography, cultural anthropologist Coleman (Coding Freedom) constructs a fascinating picture of the many facets of the Internet collective known as Anonymous, from tricksters and trolls to social crusaders and information warriors. She pulls back the curtain to reveal feuding factions, evolving purposes, scatological humor, and a healthy dose of bizarre in-jokes. In particular, she looks at how they’ve taken on corporations, governments, even Scientology, and come out on top almost every time. Her writing style is as irreverent and occasionally as profane as her subjects, drawing the reader in with a casual amiability, as if sharing the wild stories of impossible and unreliable acquaintances. Interviews, chat logs, leaked documents, and personal recollections help construct one of the most accessible and most illuminating profiles possible of a group that, by its very creed, can’t easily be defined or categorized. This all-access pass into the dark and wild corners of the Internet is timely, informative, and also frightening. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Easily the best book on Anonymous." —Julian Assange

“The US government and its allies have spent years castigating, prosecuting, and jailing members of Anonymous, with the director of the NSA going so far as to warn ominously of the potential of an Anonymous-led power blackout. But Gabriella Coleman’s fascinating history of Anonymous makes clear that almost all of the hacktivism attributed to this global collective has been devoted to exposing wrongdoing, not wreaking destruction, even as she also carefully shows that Anonymous is not a shadowy organization but a loosely knit collection of activists all over the globe, fighting for government and corporate transparency. The NSA’s treatment of Anonymous is disturbing and extreme, and Anonymous’s surprising activist turn is heartening. Essential reading.” —Glenn Greenwald, author of No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State

“Coleman takes us on a thrilling journey into the uncharted landscape of hackers, trolls, and Anonymous activists who live among us. It’s both a perfect initiation for all those n00bs out there still wondering what a ‘n00b’ is, as well as an important discourse on the role of anarchy online. Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy shares in the rebellious, even mordant humor of the groups it profiles, but never loses its critical perspective. A hilarious, important piece of hidden history that is very hard to put down.” —Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

“With a perceptive eye and a principled disposition, Coleman dives into the eclectic world of Anonymous to reveal the humor and political significance of this polarizing network. Following her journey through this maze and reveling in her analysis is both insightful and awe-inspiring. This book will shake up assumptions at the core of academia, industry, law enforcement, and the media. It's a must read!” —danah boyd, author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

“Exhaustively researched and devilishly readable, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy tells the story of Anonymous’s rise from 4chan to taking on governments. If there could be a definitive writer on a movement like Anonymous, Coleman would be it.” —Molly Crabapple, artist and author of the forthcoming Drawing Blood

“This is the ultimate piece on Anonymous. It’s a notoriously difficult subject to write about, but Gabriella Coleman has succeeded where others have failed, and the result is a masterpiece that is informative, interesting, and funny. A fine example of what an investigative book should be.” —Mustafa Al-Bassam, alias “tflow,” former member of LulzSec

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781781685839
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 11/4/2014
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 458,617
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Gabriella Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she researches, writes, and teaches on computer hackers and digital activism. She is the author of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking.

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