Anonymous: We'll kill Facebook on bonfire night
Remember remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason, should ever be forgot...
Written about Guy Fawkes' "Gunpowder plot", a plan to bring down the Houses of Parliament and assassinate King James in 1605, the children's nursery rhyme could take on more relevance this year, as hacking group Anonymous has vowed to "kill" social networking site Facebook on 5 November 2011.
It is also the date made memorable by the comic book series V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, which was also turned into a movie. In it, the activist "V" wears a Guy Fawkes mask, something that has since become a symbol of anonymous protest in the real world. So perhaps that's the more likely reason behind the choice of that specific date.
The hacktivist collective, who recently replaced the Syrian Ministry of Defence website with one of its own, claims that, come bonfire night (as the day is celebrated in the UK), the "medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed". It also goes on to say that other hackers should "join the cause and kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy."
Speaking via a YouTube video, the group also claims that "Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria."
One line in its mission statement also seems to nod to the events unfolding in London and other major cities in England: "The riots are underway," Anonymous states. At best it is antagonistic, at worst insensitive to those caught up in the violence.
If it does manage to take Facebook down, what's the betting that it'll happen at 16:05 GMT (in honour of the year of the original attack on the British government)?
Mind you, it didn't work out so well for Guy Fawkes now, did it?
Will this be the move that turns the vast majority against the actions of Anonymous? Is the hacktivist group's claim that Facebook abuses our privacy at least mildly hypocritical considering that associated group LulzSec posted countless personal addresses and private details of innocent people on sites such as Pirate Bay for anyone to download? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...