‘Anonymous’ Member Offers Look Inside Hacking Activist Group

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Recent protests of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system have been fueled by computer hackings and street demonstrations led y a group known as Anonymous. One man who claims to be a part of the clandestine “hactivist” squad agreed to talk to CBS 5 about the movement.

Peter Fein of Washington State said he has participated in the planning of Anonymous operations, but he claims he doesn’t break any laws.

“I don’t hack things. I don’t deface web sites. My wife would kill me,” Fein said in a Skype interview.

Fein wouldn’t say who is doing the hacking, but he said people in Anonymous have varying levels of participation.

“Anonymous is a banner…There are no leaders, no official membership,” said Fein. “People show up and participate in ops, or operations as we call them, that they believe in.”

“When they get bored or disagree with what’s going on, they go home.”

Fein said that while many Anonymous participants agreed with Monday’s non-violent protests in San Francisco, others strongly disagreed with a recent hacking, which made personal information of BART Officers public.

“The attitude of anonymous around the attacks of bringing down web sites is ‘If you silence us, we will silence you,’” said Fein. “I’ve heard it said that if there was more attention paid to peaceful protests maybe these hacks weren’t quite so necessary. There have been people protesting about police brutality on the part of BART for three years, and it wasn’t until some 2,000 email addresses got leaked…that the world seemed to take notice.”

Photo Gallery: Hacking Group Disrupts BART Service

CBS 5 reached out to Anonymous – not to give them a platform for more publicity – but in an effort to understand their motives.

Fein said the group has called for another protest on Monday, and that there very well could be more hackings carried out in the name of Anonymous in the days to come.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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