Cyber Heroes or Cyber Terrorists
Tamaulipas is the Mexican state with the most drug related crime, being the home state of both the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. Furthermore, there is good reason to think the cartels have used their influence to affect the political life in the region. Politicians who choose not to speak out against the Cartels often find themselves running more or less unopposed in elections and politicians who do speak out have a bad habit of disappearing forever. Given these considerations, it’s very rare for politicians in office to actively work against the cartels and, as a consequence, the cartels continue to run rampant.
In 2018 the current Governor of Tamaulipas, Alejandro Guerrero, is up for reelection. Opposing him is the outspoken, anti-cartel candidate, Carlos Santana. Santana promises to work against the Cartels to crack down on crime in the region. And since Santana’s background include time spent in the military, people believe he might actually be able to get something done. Guerrero, by contrast, has a very mixed track record. Since he came into office, the amount of drug related crimes in the region has actually increased and fewer cartel members are being prosecuted than ever before. And while there is no explicit proof that Guerroro has made any deals with the cartels, pretty much everyone in the region believes he has an agreement with the cartel leaders.
The contrast between the two candidates has led to the election’s gaining some international attention. Amongst those who are interested is the organization Anonymous. who are sympathetic to Santana and have decided to take up his cause and work against Guerrero’s. Towards these ends, Anonymous has decided to carry out multiple DDoS attack on the websites of Guerrero and many of his supporters. They also hack his personal email account and post what they find online (including personal correspondences between Guerrero and his mistress). They even go so far as to release personal documents about Guerrero, his family, his supporters, and his supporters’ families. This includes pictures of and addresses for each of Guerrero’s daughters, one of whom is in college in the United States. Anonymous hopes that these actions will shine a light on the situation in Tamaulipas and help undermine Guerrero’s campaign.
Is what Anonymous is doing ethical? Should they engage in these activities despite the fact that there is no definitive evidence of collusion between Guerrero and the drug cartels? And even if there were such evidence, would Anonymous’ actions be justified?