anonymous, opkkk, ku klux klan, scientology

UPDATED: Anonymous To Out KKK Members — Can We Trust Them?

UPDATED: Anonymous has denied any connection with the lists released prior to Thursday, November 5th.

The lists were released by Amped Attacks, who is unaffiliated with Anonymous. We apologize for having fallen for the hoax.

ORIGINAL STORY:

  The hacking group Anonymous says they’ll release the names they’ve compiled of Ku Klux Klan members, starting this Thursday and Friday:

Anonymous has been fighting the KKK since the protests over Mike Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Last November, Anonymous doxxed the Imperial Wizard of a Missouri KKK chapter, Frank Ancona after taking over one of the official KKK twitter accounts.

In that message, they promised to release more names and information, and after a year, it looks like Anonymous is now ready.

Anonymous is a difficult group to pin down by its very nature: It’s a group anyone can be a member of, and anyone can get a campaign going if they convince enough other members. There’s no leadership — while usually Anonymous believes in open access and often acts against censorship, not every “Operation” follows those lines. In the early days of Anonymous, they were usually known as a group of trolls behind acts like the “Pool’s Closed” raids of Finnish networking site Habbo Hotel, and sites like Encyclopedia Dramatica, a faux-encyclopedia collecting information Anonymous’ trolling exploits, rumors, lies and jokes.

Starting with Operation Chanology, Anonymous’ war against the Church of Scientology, Anonymous’ reputation began to change. While people were still scared they might be Anonymous’ next target, Anonymous started to be seen as a more traditional activist group. Anonymous has been involved with WikiLeaks, Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, among others, and their reputation has grown from a shadowy group of trolls to a group to aid and mobilize protesters and activists.

Unfortunately, despite good intentions, Anonymous’ flexibility means a lack of accountability. For example, in the early days of Ferguson, Anonymous doxxed who they thought Mike Brown’s killer — they were mistaken; the man they named wasn’t even on the police force. Even in Operation KKK, a PasteBin (an online site allowing anyone to post documents online anonymously) included the names of politicians believed to be KKK members — however, there’s been no verification, and the “official” Operation KKK Twitter account distanced itself from this list. One PasteBin list purporting to be a collection of phone numbers and email addresses of KKK members features a surprisingly high number of emails from Russian domains, and a source interviewed by International Business Times claims to know some of the people on the list, and knows they are NOT members of the KKK.

As tempting as it is to out KKK members, it’s important to remember to do due diligence on the information provided by Anonymous. While Anonymous is likely to have compiled a list with some accuracy, that accuracy cannot be guaranteed. It’s for this reason we must think twice about sharing Anonymous’ findings without doing our own research. It may turn out the final lists released on Thursday and Friday are 100% accurate — but until we know for sure, it’s important to think before we share.