Hacktivist collective Anonymous has teamed with a group called The Peoples Liberation Front (PLF) to begin a unified assault against a new nemesis: all-seeing Orwell-approved surveillance system TrapWire. In a press release published today, they explain why TrapWire should make everyone nervous:
“The more we learn about TrapWire and similar systems, it becomes absolutely clear that we must at all costs shut this system down and render it useless. A giant AI electronic brain able to monitor us through a combination of access to all the CCTV cameras as well as all the online social media feeds is monstrous and Orwellian in it’s implications and possibilities. The Peoples Liberation Front and Anonymous will now put forth a call to arms, and initiate the doom of this evil and misbegotten program.”
The PLF and Anonymous say they plan to spread as much information as possible “about TrapWire and it’s (sic) related technologies and programs.” They’ve also issued an “ACTION ALERT” (capslock theirs) for “Smash A Cam Saturday,” which sounds like a great lead-in to “Call Mom to Bail You Out Sunday.”
Linking to a map of known/possible TrapWire-affiliated cameras across the U.S., the groups suggest protesters “sabotage at least one CCTV per week.” They also provide a link to an online guide that purports to give instruction in best methods for CCTV camera destruction.
The operation also seeks to disable “fake personas on social media” allegedly associated with TrapWire’s vast network by “creating thousands of phony accounts and use them to produce a deluge of false triggers for the TrapWire program.” Which might make Twitter and Facebook even more interesting than usual in the coming days.
TrapWire burst breathlessly into public consciousness nearly a week ago after mentions of it in hacked Stratfor emails were promoted as evidence of a creepily far-reaching effort to create the ultimate surveillance state. While some treated the revelation as a new and world-changing leak, the truth is TrapWire has been a known quantity to some degree for years. In his 2008 Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, Tim Shorrock discussed TrapWire’s creator, Abraxas Corporation, and described the software clearly as a system of “algorithms that allow digital surveillance systems to detect patterns of suspicious behavior.” Shorrock also reported TrapWire was “being tested by police departments in New York and Los Angeles” at the time.
It may have taken interested parties like the PLF and Anonymous four years to notice TrapWire and that may discount some of the hype, but it doesn’t change the fact they’re sinking their teeth in now and probably won’t stop till they think they’ve struck bone.