Member of the Board of the Polish Linux Users Group. Human rights in digital era hacktivist, Free Software advocate, privacy and anonimity evangelist; expert volunteer to the Panoptykon Foundation; co-organizer of SocHack social hackathons; charter member of the Warsaw Hackerspace; and Telecomix co-operator; biker, sailor.

Formerly President of the Board of the Polish Free and Open Source Software Foundation; CTO of BRAMA Mobile Technologies Laboratory on Warsaw University of Technology and a student at Philosophy Institute on Warsaw University.

Table of Contents

02.07.2016Dzień, w którym cenzura Sieci w Polsce stała się faktem pl 152 13.04.2015Needless haystacks en 151 12.03.2015e-Dockleracje pl 150 19.01.2015Ban on encryption is not about banning encryption en 149 13.01.2015Not Free as in Beer en pl 148 30.12.2014GPG Key Transition en pl 147 18.12.2014Siła wyższa pl 146 04.12.2014Internet in Poland to be porn-free after all? en pl 145 27.11.2014Block everything! en pl 144 02.11.2014Introducing: rysiek's law of unavoidable consequences en pl 143 09.09.2014Stop paedophilia en pl 142 22.06.2014Even with EME, Mozilla will become "the browser that can't" en 141 21.06.2014EuroDIG 2014 en pl 140 19.06.2014Hacker in the Digital Affairs Council en pl 139 30.05.2014Public consultations and anonymity en pl 138 18.05.2014Why being a pirate is not worth it en pl 137 15.05.2014On Mozilla, DRM and irrelevance en pl 136 14.05.2014Not-quite-good-enough-Mundial en 135 12.04.2014Irresponsible non-disclosure en pl 134 29.03.2014Ecologic, Ford and surveillance en pl 133 15.03.2014Otwórzmy edukację pl 132 10.03.2014Blurry line between private service and public infrastructure en 131 08.03.2014IM IN UR MINISTRY, CONSULTING UR INTERNETZ en pl 130 17.02.2014Encrypted VoIP that works en pl 129 11.02.2014So you want to censor the Internet... en pl 128 02.02.2014This is why we can't have nice IRC en 127 31.01.2014Decentralize where your mouth is en pl 126 30.01.2014A link cannot be illegal en pl 125 30.01.2014Copyright reform debate lives on en pl 124 26.01.2014Neat HaCSS, or let's de-JS the Web a bit en 123 27.12.2013Information Account Number en 122 14.12.2013HaIPu en 121 20.11.2013Friends of TTIP and data protection in Brussels en 120 19.11.2013Social media, Polish Pirates style en pl 119 05.11.2013A rude comment en 118 20.10.2013TEDx Warsaw Women and privacy en pl 117 03.10.2013Copyreform at CopyCamp 2013 en pl 116 22.09.2013Long-expected KMail2 rant en 115 18.09.2013Facebook for schools en 114 12.09.2013In which I call upon United Poland parliamentarians to guarantee citizens the right to Internet free of surveillance en pl 113 08.09.2013Complaintivism en 112 04.09.2013It's his own fault en pl 111 19.08.2013Lies, damn lies, and analytics en pl 110 27.07.2013Shortest Internet censorship debate ever en pl 109 22.07.2013Cómo el compartir información desarraiga los modelos conservadores de negocio en es 108 22.07.2013Posts' markup is now available en pl 107 11.07.2013Kultura wolna i legalna pl 106 07.06.2013Internet is not a problem en pl 105 05.06.2013Libel Culture en 104 17.05.2013Wojtuś Fatalista i wolność w Internecie pl 102 17.05.2013Por qué hallo la licencia -ND como innecesaria y dañina en es pl 101 28.03.2013Wolność nasza codzienna pl 100 17.03.2013Nie wszystko korpo co o wolności w Internecie pl 99 15.03.2013♫ Odpowiadam na e-maile ♫ pl 98 11.02.2013One year anniversary of Anti-ACTA en pl 97 30.01.2013Nie ma haka na słabe dziennikarstwo? pl 96 30.01.2013Fighting Black PR around OER en pl 95 29.01.2013HOWTO: effectively argue against Internet censorship ideas en pl 94 20.11.2012Border conditions for preserving subjectivity in the digital era en pl 93 19.11.2012Social blogosphere en pl 92 07.11.2012Embrace fragmentation en pl 91 02.11.2012SERVICES.TXT en pl 90 24.10.2012Apple por fin saltó por la borda en es 89 24.09.2012Rompiendo los muros del jardín en es pl 88 24.09.2012Minister i Kultura pl 87 24.09.2012Melbourne CryptoParty video message en 86 16.09.2012On sailor's sensitivity, or "the starry heavens above me" en pl 85 22.08.2012Black PR around Polish e-Textbooks en pl 84 15.08.2012Regaty utracone pl 83 24.07.2012Hypochristian Love en 82 24.07.2012Some new Layout Goodness en pl 81 17.07.2012Party 2.0 en pl 80 16.07.2012Prawo autorskie po ACTA pl 79 13.07.2012Party as a system hack en pl 78 10.06.2012Are corporations dangerous only in collusion with governments? en 77 09.06.2012Proxies! Proxies everywhere! en 76 05.06.2012Automagic re-publishing from Twitter to StatusNet en pl 75 18.05.2012TPSA/Orange and GIMP, or a word on 5 users en pl 74 16.05.2012Słowo o Warsztatach MAiC pl 73 15.04.2012Schowaj gadżeta pl 72 05.04.2012Perfect ToDo-oid en 71 27.03.2012Subjectively on Anti-ACTA in Poland en pl 70 25.03.2012On copyright in Budapest en pl 69 23.03.2012Kościoła poczucie odpowiedzialności pl 68 20.03.2012Learning to Internet en pl 67 19.03.2012Kościoła wiara w wiernych pl 66 29.02.2012Brussels Safari #1 - EP press conference and ITRE en pl 65 21.02.2012Because ACTA is passé en pl 64 20.02.2012Privacy of correspondence, EU-style en pl 63 17.02.2012Polish PM on ACTA: I was wrong en pl 62 12.02.2012Anonymous vs Corponymous en pl 61 10.02.2012To have a cookie and dowload it too en pl 60 19.01.2012About ACTA at Polish PM Chancellery en pl 59 19.01.2012Free as in United en pl 58 16.01.2012Towarzystwo czuje się oszukane pl 57 10.01.2012Terms of Using the Service en pl 56 05.01.2012Corporate lack of patriotism en pl 55 04.01.2012Terroristcopters en pl 54 03.01.2012IceWeasel and Privacy en pl 53 28.12.2011Good Uncle Stal... Putin en pl 52 25.12.2011Useful Bash defaults done right en 51 21.12.2011Google Mail, or how mail becomes publication en pl 50 20.12.2011Occupy Gotham en pl 49 11.12.2011Copyfraud en pl 48 08.12.2011Multikino Wikipedia FAIL pl 47 27.11.2011Nie miejsce na pl 46 18.11.2011One-way cutting en pl 45 12.11.2011Tolerancja dla Kościoła pl 44 11.11.2011Users and Citizens en pl 43 30.10.2011Adhocracy and Net4Change en pl 42 18.10.2011War on Fun en pl 41 16.10.2011Boli mnie w krzyżu pl 40 14.10.2011Technocomplacency en pl 39 10.10.2011I Can Haz? pl 37 09.10.2011Election Silence in Poland en pl 38 03.10.2011Kibice i kampania pl 36 02.10.2011E-textbooks, Johnny Mnemonic, business and the Net en pl 35 19.09.2011CC Global Streaming/Summit/Party pl 33 19.09.2011Czy jest coś takiego jak darmowe śniadanie? pl 34 12.09.2011Faktycznie Super pl 32 12.09.2011Diaspora-Based Comment System en 31 11.09.2011Conflict of values en pl 30 06.09.2011Wolność słowa to nie wolność od myślenia ani od krytyki pl 29 06.09.2011On-line privacy and anonymity: case in point en pl 28 04.09.2011On being careful with words en pl 27 03.09.2011W obronie QR Code pl 26 31.08.2011Stolica Nie Tak Święta pl 25 29.08.2011Of malware, hot steam, privacy, using one's brain and paedoparanoia en 24 29.08.2011Kragen Thinking Out Loud en pl 23 18.08.2011Ból, blizny, dziewczyny i wiosła pl 22 07.08.2011Worst. Woodstock. Ever! pl 21 27.07.2011Willpower, productivity and cycling en pl 20 19.07.2011Neo FreeRunner as a WiFi Soundcard en 19 10.07.2011A Weekend with lawyers en pl 18 09.07.2011One step closer to ideal en pl 17 04.07.2011Apostasy in Poland en pl 16 28.06.2011YAFR (Yet Another Facebook Rant) en pl 15 19.06.2011Wiara w priorytety pl 14 17.06.2011Important meetings, fun meetings en pl 13 13.06.2011Ooops I en pl 12 30.05.2011Playing with Node.js en pl 11 25.05.2011Mozilla, Google and the Location Bar en pl 10 24.05.2011At Sector 3.0 conf en pl 9 23.05.2011Layout, CSS and RSS/Atom en pl 8 15.05.2011Startup Weekend Network Fun Fun Fun en 7 11.05.2011Nowy szef Bramy pl 6 10.05.2011World's Smallest Open Source Violin en pl 5 10.05.2011Po kolejnym spotkaniu w KPRM pl 4 08.05.2011Inspiracja na niedzielę pl 3 08.05.2011I horizontally the whole blog is that serious pl 2 07.05.2011I can has brag en pl 1

Anonymous vs Corponymous

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Watching the situation with ACTA in Poland unfold during the last few weeks (and taking active part in it all, through my affiliations) got me thinking about Anonymous. Obviously, they played a huge part in what was happening, both positive and negative.

Positive — because they did help raise public awereness of ACTA (although saying there were no protests before Anons got involved just isn't true). Negative — because through their "attacks" (which I would say were something between hacktivism and vandalism) on Polish Government websites they gave a perfect excuse for the Prime Minister to sign ACTA anyway, citing "not succombing to blackmail" as the reason. This played well with part of the public, and unfortunately helped push anti-ACTA activists towards the "pirates, terrorists" corner.

At this point I already started thinking about Anons as purely hedonistic bratty pricks, getting on the Anti ACTA bandwagon in an attempt to get a lame excuse for them having fun with vandalizing stuff on the Internet.

But then something increadibly curious happened. With the help from Anons from outside and from within Poland we were able to ask Anons to halt their attacks. And they did.

Ethical force of nature

Finally, it dawned on me — Anonymous may be hedonistic, impulsive, with small regard to effects of their actions, but they are still, for the most part, ethical in their own special way.

The closest description to how their actions feel from the outside is "a force of nature", the unstoppable-antilope-herd-stampede kind, like the one that crushed Mufasa in "Lion King".

However, even en-masse or in a herd, even with all the anonimity the Internet avails them, and even though they are (or at least, feel) virtually unpunishable for their actions (which could mean drifting towards the immoral), it is still extremely rare to actually see purely evil actions on their part! Or, using the "Lion King" analogy further, it doesn't seem easy for the hyenas to start an Anonymous stampede against a cute little kitty.

Au contraire! Usually, it's the hyenas that get stampeded because they already hurt some cute little kitty. Like the Police abusing their power.

Of course the actions undertaken by Anons may lead to both good and bad, but still — they are not usually undertaken with pure evil in mind. Attempts to rush Anons against some personal enemy usually end in the "not your personal army" category, sometimes even backfiring at the attemptee.

Without a doubt the single most important reason for Anons to do something is "Teh Lulz", and how spectacular or notable it might become. But it seems there is an unwritten and unspoken rule that it can't be pure evil (however defined).

The Corponymous

This is not how corporate people work. What they do is "serious business", and it seems that the higher one ranks in a corporation, the more the term "evil" fits in their job description.

However, there are many similarities between those two groups of people. Like the Anonymous, corporate people are also virtually anonymous, almost completely anonimized by the behemoth they work for. Like the Anonymous, actions of a single corporate employee are almost completely irrelevant — it's the herd, the sheer mass of the whole behemoth thrown in a single direction that makes a change. Anonymous are more-or-less indemnified for their actions by technology, corporate employees are indemnified by law. It's extremely hard to change the direction of Anonymous stampede — and it's close to impossible to change the direction of a corporate entity. Anonymous flock behind symbols, the Corponymous execute their actions under the aegis of corporate logos.

So, with all the similarities, how come the Corponymous do not exhibit the same level of morality in their day-to-day work the Anonymous seem to do in their actions?

Chaos vs Structure

There are some crucial differences that might help explain this, at least in some part.

First of all, while people can apparently join and leave both groups whenever they like, it's much harder in the case of the Corponymous. This is a job. This is a serious commitment, and walking away from it would have huge repercussions. That's not the case with Anonymous, where everybody can join-in and drop-out as they please, without any hassle. As soon as an Anon doesn't like what he or she is doing, he or she stops.

Secondly, corporations are very hierarchical entities — something Anonymous (by design) is very definitely not.

This has many consequences, not the least of which is (apparent or factual) indemnification for actions done in the name of the whole. Anons are hard to track, but are not indemnified, and they are well aware of that. The Corponymous however can, on a court hearing, always say they were ordered to.

This is maybe the crucial point. Within the Anonymous, the responsibility for actions of every single person in the herd lies squarely with that particular person. The Corponymous, however, perceive that the responsibility for their actions is blurry. And thus, maybe even more importantly, they can rationalize any action they undertake, however atrocious, as not being their fault.

A New Hope

That speaks volumes about the human race in general. And it speaks well!

Even completely anonymous and seemingly untraceable (thus not threatened by any punishment), even when claiming to act completely hedonistically, sometimes even acting against the law, people tend to act according to some ethos, at least in groups, as long as they are not granted the leisure of off-loading the responsibility for their actions on somebody else.

That seems counter-intuitive, as most of us would feel that the inevitability of punishment is what keeps people from doing evil. Turns out that for a lot of people, even in such a shady group as Anonymous, the sheer fact of being the responsible party, is enough of a moral incentive.

The bad part is that a lot of the society building blocks today are strongly hierarchical, and thus allow responsibility off-loading. Major religions also tend to create conditions for it, either with a distant deity that "has a plan"; with vague and ambiguous, obsolete rules; or with instructions to unconditionally follow the judgement of a select few individuals.

There's a reason why some of the most heinous acts in human history had been done under the banner of a government or a religion.

The great part, however, is that we all seem to have a built-in moral compass, and we do actually use it, even when there is nothing that can make us. And that is something I am very grateful Anonymous shows.