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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Twitter "Data Exhaust" and "The Anonymous Rule"

On August 5th, I opined that Twitter is the new cyberwar dashboard. Yesterday, I began playing with an as yet top secret Twitter analytics tool, and promised to focus on an hourly Anonymous analytics exercise. Two things about Anonymous tweets stand out:

  1. The Anonymous war against Mexican drug cartels completely dropped out of sight, replaced by
  2. The Anonymous #occupywallstreet  and #antisec initiatives.
The above indicates that saner minds are prevailing. Anarchists may be crazy, but they're not stupid. You don't fool with guys who will mutilate you and your whole family.

Another interesting piece of "data exhaust" is that (surprise) people are "gaming" Twitter to achieve other goals (mostly marketing products). I'm intrigued with the ability of this particular analytics technology to quickly identify people who are indeed gaming the system. Since we live in an essentially "reputation based" economy, it makes some sense to "out" such individuals. Public shame can quickly cause our community to self organize and self police. 

Which brings me back to Anonymous. I often counsel with teenagers to follow the "Mother Rule," which is that you shouldn't do or say anything in which you wouldn't involve yourself with your mother watching. I now coin the "Anonymous Rule" as a corollary: "Do not do or say anything in your professional life that you wouldn't want broadcast by an Anonymous whistle blower."

Religious people tend to believe there will be a "Judgement Day" wherein all the secret acts of mankind will be shown to all of creation. Anonymous may have accelerated a kind of judgement day for people trying to skulk around in our world, today. In our reputation based economy, we should all keep "The Anonymouse Rule" in mind. Or be prepared to accept the consequences.

Based upon one more piece of "data exhaust" I'll share—namely the unlikelihood my White House "Morgan Doctrine" petition will ever enable licensed and bonded cyber privateers to keep the world honest—it's looking more and more like Anonymous will perform a less-just/fewer-checks-and-balances but nevertheless effective policing operation. Get set for a wild ride.

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?