Anonymous is on the offensive this week in the Philippines – and not for the first time. The Anonymous group has previously exposed the Philippine president’s mobile number and hacked a number of government websites in September last year and January this year as a form of protest against the government.
But this week’s hacking and defacing of 37 government websites is the most coordinated and concerted attack yet. Though it’s under the banner of Anonymous’ “million mask” movement that will reach a peak tomorrow, the new round of hacking in the Philippines is about very local issues. And that’s why it might succeed – succeed in terms of rallying people together.
Marching against corruption
Known for defacing government websites as a sign of protest – what some call hacktivism – the Anonymous group in the Philippines wants to unite citizens against corrupt government officials.
Appropriation of government funding has been a hot topic in the country for the past few months due to a number of high-profile scandals. This issue brought out a hundred thousand Filipinos in a protest in August, a rallying cry that started on social media.
Last week, the Philippine president Benigno Aquino made a statement on television saying he’s not part of these thieves in the government. And Filipino netizens yet again voiced their reactions on social media sites.
All these issues might’ve prompted Anonymous to focus more on the Philippines in the run up to tomorrow’s million mask march. The shadowy group is now calling upon Filipinos to unite against corruption. Will the netizens listen? Will they act on this call?
Social media power
Filipino netizens are always on the lookout for wrongdoing among government officials. Plus, in October last year, a number of people in the country turned their Facebook profile photos black in protest against the allegedly freedom-oppressing Cybercrime law.
However, since Philippine netizens already make sure that they know what’s happening with the government, the call to march with Anonymous might not stand out amidst all the social media chatter, despite how much it resonantes with the current state of the nation. The million mask march is happening in two locations in the Philippines – in Manila at the Congress building, and in Leyte.
(Editing by Steven Millward)