We are Legion: the Story of the Hacktivists, takes you inside the complex counter-culture and history of the collective hacker group known as Anonymous that began as a “chat” club on 4Chan and evolved into an entity with the capability to take down major corporations and governments. It is available now on iTunes and the We are Legion website for $9.99 using a credit card or your Amazon account (yeah, the payment process is a bit clunky). Don’t expect to pay using PayPal though. In typical Anonymous style, the payment screen has the option presented with a bloody, red line drawn through it. The movie runs for 1 hour and 35 minutes and can also be rented for $3.99 on Amazon Instant Video.
We are Legion was created by Director/Writer/Producer Brian Knappenberger, known for his documentaries and feature films created for Sundance Channel, PBS Frontline, The Travel Channel, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel. Through interviews with current members – some recently returned from prison, others still awaiting trial – as well as writers, academics and major players in various raids, We are Legion traces the collective’s breathtaking evolution from merry pranksters to a full-blown, global movement, one armed with new weapons of civil disobedience for an online world. The movie kicked off its theatrical run in New York, Los Angeles, and Montreal last Friday with more screenings coming up across the country over the next few weeks.
The New York Times gave it a favorable review and noted:
“The film is most illuminating in showing how democratic practice can still find a new voice and innovative means with each generation. The fascinating efforts of Anonymous can be messy, but so are many freedoms when asserted so boldly.”
From the We are Legion website:
“In recent years, the radical online community known as Anonymous has been associated with attacks or “raids” on hundreds of targets. Angered by issues as diverse as copyright abuse and police brutality, they’ve taken on child pornographers, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system and even forced a standoff with Mexican drug cartels. They’ve hit corporate targets like Sony, cyber-security firms like HBGary Federal and would-be web controllers like the Church of Scientology.
They shut down Mastercard, Visa and Paypal after those groups froze financial transactions to Wikileaks. Along with other hacktivist groups like Telecomix, they’ve launched cyber attacks against foreign governments in support of the Arab Spring. They served as tech support for the Occupy movement and have put their mark on countless uprisings around the world. One participant described their protests as “ultra coordinated motherfuckery.”
So who is Anonymous?
They’ve been called criminals, “hackers on steroids” and even terrorists. But the vast majority of those who identify as Anonymous don’t break the law. They see themselves as activists and protectors of free speech, and tend to rise up most powerfully when they perceive a threat to internet freedom or personal privacy. Whether you are a soccer mom or a member of Congress, you live in an electronic landscape that has exploded with largely unchecked intrusion and surveillance. You are tracked by government databases while corporate advertisers are looking to buy your personal data for pennies. In this landscape, the existence of the collective internet culture called Anonymous makes the case for anonymity.
Using tools of disruption and spectacle, they have also become the face of dissent for a variety of human rights and information freedom groups around the globe. They are a legion of loud but largely masked geeks, hackers, pranksters and outraged citizens who have unwittingly redefined civil disobedience for the digital age, and found themselves in the middle of one of the most important battles of our time.”
You can stream or download the DRM-free MP4 file. The official trailer for the movie can be viewed below: