UPDATED: According to the hacker collective, WBC halted picket plans after the launch of #OpAngel VIDEO
UPDATE, Jan. 16: In response to Anonymous’ call out for human shields to protect Aaron Swartz’s funeral in Chicago Tuesday from any attempted pickets by the Westboro Baptist Church, supporters showed up ready. However, according to Tweets from a main Anonymous operated account, the religious group’s lawyer contacted police to inform them that picket plans had been canceled.
An announcement about the next phase of #OpAngel is expected from Anonymous Wednesday.
Original post: Following the MIT hack this morning, Anonymous has extended its tribute to Aaron Swartz into #OpAngel. The operation, launched Monday just one day ahead of the gifted programmer and activist’s funeral, has manifold intent.
First, Anonymous plans to thwart Westboro Baptist Church’s announced plans to picket Swartz’s open funeral in Chicago. “Twenty-four hours after the death of Aaron Swartz was announced to the world, a heartless cult announced their intention to picket his funeral. In response, Anonymous has launched Operation Angel,” the hacker collective announced in a statement.
Noting that WBC’s interest in Swartz’s funeral likely relates to Anonymous’ previous attacks on the religious group, the hackers offered apologies to Swartz’s parents:
It is likely that our continuous condemnation and attacks against this cult is the very reason Aaron is being targeted by them. We would do anything to stop them from attending Aaron’s services.
The statement urges that “organizations who would like to form protective human shields near Aaron’s funeral to listen closely for any announcement by the family on this action and respect their wishes … We are encouraging the public and any members of Highland Park law enforcement with intel on the cults to e-mail that information to OpAngel@hushmail.com.”
The hackers go on to explain that #OpAngel will involve a second phase once Swartz has been laid to rest:
Partnering with other organizations, Anonymous intends to pursue reform within the DoJ and other government agencies to prevent the kind of unnecessary harassment that Aaron Swartz was victim to. Some of the brightest men and women in the fields of information technology and security are being targeted by agencies that lack a basic understanding of the so-called crimes they are accusing people of. We will do this for Aaron Swartz and everyone like him.
As of yet it is unknown how #OpAngel will pursue the DoJ, but the launch of #OpAngel — like so many other tributes following his suicide — highlights how much respect and care Swartz commanded in activist and hacker networks.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com. More Natasha Lennard.
More Related Stories
- Teenagers care more about online privacy than you think
- The Maker kids are alright
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- Cyber attacks could cause the next world war
- Snapchat is secretly storing your photos
- Apple's biggest sin: Popularity
- Facebook's hate speech problem
- Amazon set to launch fine-art gallery
- Twitter torches Dan Brown's "Inferno"
- Looting in Oklahoma?
- Wikipedia cleans up its mess
- You are less beautiful than you think
- Should wunderkinds be allowed to drop out of high school?
- Don't cry climate-change wolf
- Apple uses foreign companies to avoid billions in taxes
- Gitmo hunger striker launches Twitter campaign
- How to screw up Tumblr
- Yahoo shells out $1.1 billion for Tumblr
- Chinese hackers resume attacks against U.S.
- Must-see morning clip: Facial recognition software identifies "faceprints"
- Facebook "like" on trial in Virginia
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11