Gabriella Coleman "lived" online, documenting codes and customs of the infamous hacktivist collective. Eventually, she became their chief interpreter.
...For a bleary Coleman, either way meant a maelstrom. As the world’s foremost — and pretty much only — scholar on Anonymous, she has become the lightning rod that attracts the world’s crackling media whenever Anonymous does something newsworthy, which is often.
Coleman is an anthropologist. Had she been a different kind of scholar, her experience might have been different. But just as traditional anthropologists might live amid a village or tribe to observe their customs,
Coleman spent years “living” online, logging long days and sleepless nights in a quest to understand the language, culture and ethical codes of a notoriously amorphous group. As Anonymous evolved from pranksters to political “hacktivists,” taking on targets from the Church of Scientology to African autocrats, she was one of a tiny few watching courtside.
That perspective has put Coleman in demand, and informs her soon-to-be-published book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous . But it has also pitched her into sticky ethical positions, and often left her exhausted, paranoid, and, after the FBI zeroed in on Anonymous, potentially a target....