We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

Synopsis: WE ARE LEGION: The Story of the Hacktivists, takes us inside the complex culture and history of Anonymous. The film explores early hacktivist groups like Cult of the Dead Cow and Electronic Disturbance Theater, and then moves to Anonymous' own raucous and unruly beginnings on the website 4Chan. 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.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Brian Knappenberger
Production: Laemmle Theatres and FilmBuff
  3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
93 min

It was 6 in the morning.

I got a knock on my door,

a really loud knock

and I thought it was my dad,

who had locked himself out or something,

so I opened it and it's the LED

flashlights and the really obnoxious,

bulletproof vests

and they're dragging

me out into the cold,

when I'm in my pyjamas.

That was not fun..

They seemed pretty shocked by the

sarcastic, belligerent, angry teenager,

that they dragged

out of bed that day.

I don't know if it's just that

I was 19 or that I was a girl but,

they didn't expect, this.

whoever they are,

they scared the sh*t out

of some people those days.

They scared the sh*t,

out of the powers that be

and that's why this

is being investigated.

That's why I'm under indictment.

That's it.


between the days of

December 6 and December 10,

proved to the government,

that their regulations,

their ideas,

their view of PayPal,

their view of WikiLeaks,

their view of the Afghan war,

and Egypt and Tunisia and Libya,

it didn't f***ing matter.

Their opinion no longer mattered,

because someone was out on the internet,

kicking ass.

The computer hacker group Anonymous,

is claiming tonight, that it took down

the website of the federal appeals

court in San Francisco this afternoon.

They took down senate.gov servers,

they've taken down HBGary,

SONY is claiming they did

So many confidential files,

that tonight, because of these hackers,

can be in the hands of anyone.

Visa, Mastercard, the PayPal situation.

-The criminals who hacked into Sarah Palin's private e-mail.

The church of scientology says,

Anonymous is a cyber-terrorist

group of religious bigots.

Anonymous and this other group called LulzSec,

they seem to be wanting to prove a point.

Anonymous was like the big, strong,

buff kid who had low self esteem

and all of a sudden,

punched somebody in the face and

was like, Holy sh*t I'm really strong!

And Anonymous calls itself

the final boss of the internet

and sometimes it proves

to be really f***ing true.

If you were going to violate

the freedoms of the internet,

you certainly better watch the f*** out.

They are, kind of, the

rude boys of activism.

There's a real rough edge to that,

which I think also,

is one reason why they

garner so much love

and hate from people too.

They represent a certain

sort of chaotic freedom.

Individual, young,

nameless, faceless folks are having

geo-political impact

and it's both exhilarating to realize

that and terrifying to realize that.

It kind of depends on

how that power is wielded.

We are legion.

We do not forget.

Expect us.

We stand for freedom,

we stand for freedom of speech,

the power of the people,

the ability for them to protest

against their government, to right wrongs.

No sensorship, epecially online,

but also in real life.

We have members throughout society

in all stratums of it worldwide,

yet we have no leadership.

It's one voice, it's not individual voices, that's why

we don't show our faces, that's why we don't give our names.

We're speaking as one and it's a collective.

Good timing..

I would love to live in a country

where the government fears its citizens

and not the other way around.

Right now, plenty of Anonymous actors

are in hiding because of fear of reprisals by the government.

I've been called many things,

there's unpatriotic..

..that we're just a bunch of children

sitting in our parents' basement.

I get called a terrorist sympathizer.

We've been called kids, we've been called

cyber-bullies, we've been called hooligans and..

You know, sometimes these

words aren't entirely unfair but,

this is a serious political movement.

No one in the general public

really seems to get it.

What they don't seem to get, is that the ability for

Anonymous to be everything and anything, is its power.

Anonymous is a series of relationships.

Hundreds and hundreds of people,

who are very active in it and who have varying skill

sets and who have varying issues they want to advance

and who are collaborating

in different ways each day.

They're a little bit like

a prism or a calaidoscope.

They've got many different

facets in many different sides.

Of course when you spend

enough time with them,

you start to get a sort of feel or texture,

that's not just random,

right? Yet it's very multifaceted,

very rich, which does span from the quite

lighthearted to the very very serious.

Bob Dylan had lined a song to say,

"to live outside the law,

you must be honest".

(Absolutely Sweet Marie)

They might do something which isn't

technically correct, maybe it's not

legally correct, but they're doing it for purposes,

that in their minds at least are ethical.

People who know what they're doing,

who share an ethos,

who have a commitment to

exposing and humiliating "the man",

who have a very low tolerance of some

eyes and what they perceive as evil

and the part of over-winning power structures.

They share information,

they share tools and techniques

and they are currently

having a very good time.

The hacker culture,

as we know it,

really sprang from one place. There was MI (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

and there was specifically people in the model

railroad club, the tech model railroad club.

Hacking originated as humorous pranks.

When the guys in MIT put a VolksWagen

up on top of the dome of the building,

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Brian Knappenberger

Brian Knappenberger is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, known for The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, and his work on Bloomberg Game Changers. The documentary film We Are Legion (2012) was written and directed by Knappenberger. It is about the workings and beliefs of the self-described hacktivist collective Anonymous.In June 2014, The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz was released. The film is about the life of internet activist Aaron Swartz. The film was on the short list for the 2015 Academy Award for best documentary feature.Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press was released on Netflix in June 2017, after debuting at the Sundance Film Festival. It follows professional wrestler Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media, and the takeover of the Las Vegas Review-Journal by casino owner Sheldon Adelson.Knappenberger has directed and executive produced numerous other documentaries for the Discovery Channel, Bloomberg, and PBS, including PBS' Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey. He owns and operates Luminant Media, a Los Angeles based production and post-production company. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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