MIT21W_784F09_Anonymous_pr - Anonymous' Project Chanology...

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Anonymous' Project Chanology and its Relationship With Play By: Monica Gallegos In January 2008, the Church of Scientology tried to take down an interview with Tom Cruise about Scientology from the Internet, and was confronted by Anonymous. Anonymous started as a group of Internet hackers who disagreed with Scientology's illegal Internet censorship, and its position as a Church. In its YouTube video "Message to Scientology," 1 on January 21, 2008 it declared war on Scientology. Annonymous called this war Project Chanology. Its actions have included but are not limited to, spreading information against Scientology on the internet, distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS), black faxes, prank calls, non-violent protests, and appeals to the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the Church of Scientology's tax exempt status in the United States. All these attacks have not been ignored by Scientology, and some of the organization's responses have included: moving its domain to Prolexic Technologies (where it is protected from DDoS), posting a YouTube video claiming that Anonymous is a group of "cyberterrorists," and seeking an injunction and a restraining order to prevent Anonymous from protesting in front of its churches. Scientology is a fairly wealthy organization and has the capital to pay for responsive measures. Although anonymous does not have this advantage, it has found great success and strength in its numbers because it is founded on the same characteristics as play. According to Johan Huizinga in his book Homo Ludens: A study of the Play Element in Culture , "Since the reality of play extends beyond the sphere of human life, it cannot have its foundations in any rational nexus, because this would limit it to mankind. The incidence of play is not associated with any particular stage of civilization or view of the universe. Any thinking person can see at a glance that play is a thing on its own, even if his language possesses no general concept to express it. Play cannot be denied. You can deny, if you like, nearly all abstractions: justice, beauty, truth, goodness, mind, God. You can deny seriousness, but not play." 2 In these words Huizinga describes play as a powerful phenomenon that exceeds human constraint or denial. Play in this sense is a powerful tool
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and arguably why Anonymous' strategy (which includes so much of play), has found its momentum and success. This paper will outline the ways in which Anonymous parallels play and explain how they have made Anonymous a powerful identity against Scientology. I. Not Profitable The attack on Scientology by Anonymous was not and is not for profit. There is no payroll for the hours that are put in and no future prospect of compensation. Unlike Scientology, when Anonymous grows in numbers, it receives no increase in money. Such a concept is a little surprising when considering the force and magnitude of the Anonymous attack on Scientology-- especially because most movements of this magnitude rely on a stockpile of funds in order to succeed
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MIT21W_784F09_Anonymous_pr - Anonymous' Project Chanology...

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