HACKTIVIST GROUP Anonymous has somehow made it onto the coveted Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
The collective is not a person of course, but it does stand for the individual and is made up of many different people from all walks of life. As a protest group it has appeared in almost every recent uprising, from the Arab Spring to Wikileaks and through protests against SOPA and other legislation. If you haven't heard yet, it is legion.
Time said that the Anonymous group had made the top of its list for several reasons, and threw in the suggestion that the poll, which saw the group take a swift lead in the rankings, had been gamed somehow.
"United, if at all, by a taste for shock humor and disdain for authority, this leaderless Internet hive brain is plundering and playing in the electronic networks of an ever shifting enemies list: Arab dictatorships, the Vatican, banking and entertainment firms, the FBI and CIA, the security firm Stratfor and even San Francisco's BART transport system," says Time's introduction.
"Did Anonymous fix the TIME 100 poll? 'Depends who you think is smarter, a global collective of highly skilled hackers or the TIME IT department', says one fellow traveler, anonymously. Anonymous earned its place on the list, one way or the other."
Anonymous sits at the top of the online rankings, with 395,793 votes in favour of its place and 27,303 against. In second place is Erik Martin, general manager of Reddit, a man that perhaps has similar influence among a lot of web users.
The web voting results run rather differently from those in Time magazine, and also present in the top ten is a footballer and the actor who plays Dr Who.
Time gives Anonymous a much lower position, number 36, in its published reader poll, perhaps because of its concerns that the online vote had been gamed. Top of that list is basketball player Jeremy Lin, and celebrity luminaries including Rihanna beat out the hacktivists. µ