November 26, 2015
On The Digital Life this week, we chat about Anonymous, in the wake of their declaring war on the terrorist group, ISIS.
This conflict represents something entirely new in 21st century warfare, and is strongly related to the transformation of power in the digital age. Both of these groups are new types of organizations — nimble, distributed, and asynchronous — they present their adversaries with few primary targets. They both rely heavily on digital tools to inspire others to join a movement.
Will Anonymous’ war on ISIS ultimately be harmful or helpful? While stopping the ISIS propaganda machine would be of great benefit, removing terrorists from Twitter and other social networks will make it more difficult for national intelligence agencies and security firms to track them. And, in response to the campaign by Anonymous, ISIS will no doubt change its online tactics to defend itself.
As we watch this cyberwar unfold, we can only imagine how it is a precursor to future conflicts where the boundaries blur between the digital and physical worlds.