Security- but at what price?

I have been watching the recent publicity stunts by the likes of Anonymous and Lulzsec. Publishing usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, and email addresses from some of the biggest names in technology. Entertainment companies, military contractors, banks. You would think the victims would know better, but I think the reality of the perpetrators advanced techniques and net stealth has shaken them to the core. This is digital terrorism, plain and simple.

I don't agree with the methods, the attitude, or even the idea. Public humiliation has never really forced change. It is easy to say it does, and even easier to get a crowd of morons to think it will. The reality is that the real world forgets these things at the next news cycle. They don't wait with bated breath for the next stunt, but they will tweet a wry remark about it when it does happen again. Is that what the terrorists wanted? If it is, that is a pretty low expectation. So, what should they expect?

I think they should target their skills to actual change. Their runs so far have been demonstrating their skills and winning psychologically prized targets. OK, so far a few have gotten arrested. Clearly, it was for the entertainment, not real change. Organizations that enforce copyrights, governments that filter Internet, media that publishes crap. Bored teenagers. My, how angsty.

So, what could a group of teenage shut-ins offer to the world? Anonymous is thinking about a truly anonymous social network. What good is that? I sorta need to know who my friends are. The party line goes that they are Hacktivists, looking out for us poor pedestrian users who feign at the heels of "Big Bad Corporations" as we submit ourselves to their whims. Really? When was the last time any of them actually voted? How about when they chose to shop somewhere else because of high game prices? How do they think Sony got to be in such a position of power? We gave it to them.

So, what should they do instead? Groupon is a huge marketing bonanza with people repeatedly buying coupons for regular stuff they would buy anyway, or would never buy just because it is such a great deal. How about using purloined "booty" from such a company to find out how much money the company really makes off of purchased but unused deals? That is using the information they get as an educational tool. Membership records of a major chain of weight loss centers could be analyzed to see if they really make any difference, or if it is just another huckster money making machine. The same can be done with Gyms. What does the second or third physical fitness assessment show? Is it doing any one good? If being a member of a gym helped me lose weight, I would probably join a couple of them. Sadly, you have to go there and actually work out. None of this kind of information would get disclosed, yet it is what the people need to make informed decisions. I am just a regular guy. I don't care about the email addresses of 200,000 loan holders. I don't have the time to do all the scamming and social engineering to make that worth it. I want to know who is ripping me off and where my tax money is going. Tell me that, and I have information that is worth breaking down some secure doors for.