Unless you’ve not been reading the news, you would have heard of The Messiah and his string of cyber attacks on these four websites and pages: City Harvest Church pop idol Sun Ho’s website, the PAP Community Foundation website, Ang Mo Kio Town Council website and The Straits Times blog page.
And his purpose for hacking? To help Singaporean citizens voice out their concerns in a supposedly democratic nation? Or to fight alongside Singaporean right groups in their quest to abolish the internet licencing framework act, under which news sites are required to put up a $50,000 performance bond and agree to remove any content deemed objectionable by Media Development Authority?
The answer is, perhaps, clear-cut. Unless the Singapore Government is able to ensure that it will remove the infamous internet licencing framework that’s already causing many Singaporeans to sit upright, and accede to The Messiah’s other demands, the rest is history.
Earlier in May this year, the government announced that news websites would have to obtain licences subjecting them to rules governing traditional media. This sparked a nationwide protest event held at Hong Lim Park on 6 June led by advocacy group #FreeMyInternet.
After all, The Messiah, who claims to be part of Anonymous, a group of loosely-associated hackers, ‘hacktivists’ or, for a better choice of word, vigilante known for breaking into the Central Intelligence Agency’s highly secured website, has no intention of harming the beliefs of others. But how true is this, especially when he hacked into Sun Ho’s website? To be exact, a website belonging to a private individual.
Then again, if The Messiah is really part of Anonymous, then isn’t his actions a far cry from his counterparts?
In contrast to the seriousness of issues that has driven Anonymous’ works globally, the reasoning behind the hackings is not-so-justifiable and a far cry from what Anonymous would do.
Supposedly The Messiah is part of Anonymous. Don’t these hacking incidents make Anonymous appear rather silly and juvenile?
This brings us to the burning question: Who will be The Messiah’s next target?
Let’s say The Messiah were to hack into and deface Ashley Madison’s website like he did to The Straits Times’ blog page. I’m sure many Singaporeans, including myself, regardless of age and race, would cheer him on, given the fact that Singaporeans are not in favour of extra-marital affairs; they went to the extreme of setting up a Facebook page titled Block Ashley Madison and demanding the authorities to take action.
Looking at the most probable outcome, if The Messiah were to hack into the Prime Minister’s Facebook page, certainly, his actions would be seen as being ‘intrusive’ and ‘rude’. This in turn would cause him and Anonymous to lose respect and support from their supporters. And in the long run, affect the credibility of the Anonymous collective as a group of freedom fighters.
Nevertheless, what happens next depends on the popularity and gravity of the next up-and-coming issue, how the public react to it, how it is being solved or handled, and who is responsible for putting in place solutions that would affect the outcome of the issue.
For now, let’s just take a step back and observe what may or may not happen, and lastly, in true V for Vendetta fashion, I’ll round off with the English author and writer, Alan Moore’s (in)famous phrase: “Remember, remember, [for today’s] the fifth of November…”
Well, the sixth came and nothing has happened. Yet.