We’ve all read briefly about the group Anonymous from the troll article. While some of what they do is trolling, the one dimensional name is somewhat unfitting. Anonymous isn’t exactly an identified group; they could be anyone who decides to apply the name to themselves. Consequently, Anonymous has been proactive as internet vigilantes. Well known cases include the “dog shit girl,” youtube cat torture, and the case of the stolen Sidekick. My personal favorite, however, is when the self-righteous creator of internet spam, who believes his creation is one of the best inventions of mankind, was signed up by netizens for almost every imaginable paper advertisement publication possible. Every day, his mail arrives in multiple sacks that weighs upwards of a ton. He now complains more than your five year old niece.
Now that just seems like good karma, and I don’t feel like theres a particular problem with that incident. I’m actually quite happy with what transpired.
However, in general the ethics of internet justice, or internet vigilanteism as it’s sometimes called, is much more ambiguous. What it normally involves is ridicule rather than a legal process. Vigilanteism is oft-times more efficient than justice, but the consensus seem to be that it isn’t true justice.
I’m the guy that believes justice should involve a gun and a bullet. But until we humans develop that type of intellect, we’ll need to make due with our current system. The question this poses is “should justice on the internet be held to a different standard than the offline world?” If so, how would we go about implementing this justice?