PUBLIC OPINION > Anonymous Is Admirable
News 2012/03/01 14:00:00
The loosely organized activist group known informally as Anonymous was the subject of another series of arrests this week, as Latin American police apprehended 25 hackers suspected to be involved with recent attacks on Colombian and Chilean government websites. Whether or not they were all actually involved is kind of beside the point -- the fact is, Interpol is openly aligning itself against Anonymous, and supporters are upset. Their existence and operation is a gray area, making the arrests a somewhat controversial issue, so we took the opportunity to ask the public what they think of the activist group.
There were clear distinctions between supporters and opponents of Anonymous, so don't take these results to mean there's anything like a consensus, but the majority of respondents fell in favor of them. And "admirable" turned out to be the right word to use for the favorable option, because many supporters had nothing but kind words for the group. However, there was a consistent word of reservation owing to the fact that any hacker could essentially pop on a Guy Fawkes mask and hail the name Anonymous. Opponents were straight-forward with their reasoning; the Top Opinion read, "They're criminals. Plain and simple."
There was an extremely distinct age separation at 35 years, and nowhere else. All age groups under 35 showed huge support, with about four out of five supporting Anonymous; likewise, every group over 35 was against them, though not as unanimously with about two out of five showing support. Incidentally, sources say the members arrested this week fell between the ages of 17 and 40 -- not far off the mark.
Conservatives Can't Stand Them
Conservative respondents sided strongly against the group for similar reasons they've sided against Wikileaks in the past. The way Anonymous operates is frightening in the sense that it goes largely unchecked and has no way of assuring the public that it's working in their favor. Nothing stands between them and an abuse of power. However, it should be noted that libertarians showed majority support for the group.
Unpopular With the Fully Employed
Naturally, demographics based on employment, education, and marriage status are going to coincide somewhat with the age demographic, but there was an unusually large gap between full-time workers and part-time workers. Part-time workers were even more supportive than the unemployed, and retirees were about split. Students, of course, showed huge amounts of support.
If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our original poll about the Anonymous arrests. We'd love to hear from you!
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