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Take that, Internet! Spain has arrested three suspected leaders of controversial hacker group Anonymous. Anonymous was previously known for being the people in V for Vendetta masks vigorously protesting Scientology. Loosely affiliated with 4Chan, they started drawing quite a bit more heat for their computer attacks on Sony's PlayStation network and Visa and MasterCard's sites.
However, the writing may be on the wall for the group — Sony sent a letter to Congress last month saying that they'd found a file that could link the attack on their site to Anonymous, and the arrests in Spain came came after similar breaches against the Spanish National Electoral Commission's website. Police provided few details on the suspects and declined to mention whether or not they were believed to be involved with the Sony or credit-card company attacks, but noted that the detained individuals were all suspects in attacks on other government websites.
Hacking is an interesting cultural phenomenon. Despite or maybe because of its absurd pseudo-popularity in the '90s with films like, well, Hackers and The Net, the general public is pretty grossly misinformed about the realities of hacking. It's not all Angelina on rollerblades.
Anonymous occupies a gray area for me: on one hand, I rooted for their campaign against Scientology — it was endearing in a sort of quirky way, and all those Guy Fawkes masks were kind of pleasingly creepy lined up in a row. And admittedly, there's a vague aura of cool around fucking with people's credit cards: it's nihilism chic of the late-'90s school, like Fight Club. But also, most of these groups tend to hurt a lot of regular people under the guise of some anti-corporate ethos. And for that, they probably belong in prison.