Gabriella Coleman: Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

Featuring a presentation by Gabriella Coleman on her book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous (2015, Verso Books) and discussion with Alex Adbo and Ben Wizner from the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project.

9781781685839_Hacker__hoaxer-294b89cbd6b3950d9cdbfb0e39e66884Half a dozen years ago, anthropologist Gabriella Coleman set out to study the rise of this global phenomenon just as some of its members were turning to political protest and dangerous disruption (before Anonymous shot to fame as a key player in the battles over WikiLeaks, the Arab Spring, and Occupy Wall Street). She ended up becoming so closely connected to Anonymous that the tricky story of her inside-outside status as Anon confidante, interpreter, and erstwhile mouthpiece forms one of the themes of this witty and entirely engrossing book.

The narrative brims with details unearthed from within a notoriously mysterious subculture, whose semi-legendary tricksters – such as Topiary, tflow, Anachaos, and Sabu – emerge as complex, diverse, politically and culturally sophisticated people. Propelled by years of chats and encounters with a multitude of hackers, including imprisoned activist Jeremy Hammond and the double agent who helped put him away, Hector Monsegur, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy is filled with insights into the meaning of digital activism and little understood facets of culture in the Internet age, including the history of “trolling,” the ethics and metaphysics of hacking, and the origins and manifold meanings of “the lulz.”

Coleman-Square-max_221-11919af909222b28570cdcd74beea421Gabriella Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she researches, writes, and teaches on computer hackers and digital activism. She is the author of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of



Ben Wizner is director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, which is dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression, association, and inquiry; expanding the right to privacy and increasing the control that individuals have over their personal information; and ensuring that civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by new advances in science and technology.

Alex Abdo is a Staff Attorney in the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. Prior to joining SPT, Alex was an attorney with the National Security Project, where he was involved in the litigation of cases concerning the Patriot Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the treatment of detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Navy brig in South Carolina.


Gabriella Coleman: Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous
Date: December 08, 2015
Time: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Location: The CUNY Graduate Center, Room C197
Address: 365 5th Ave. , New York 10016 (View Map)