One of the first things to draw me into “hacking culture” was that so much of it was based around helping others and doing good for the world. For example, look no further than the Anonymous hacker collective. While it is a common misconception that these people are a random group of online thugs looking to sow anarchy and hack/exploit Governments or people all around the world, this could not be any further from the truth. You might not know it, but Anonymous is actually a fairly large humanitarian group with many of their largest operations centered around social work and volunteerism.
To this point, one of Anonymous’s largest, most successful and longest running operations is something known as Operation Safe Winter (#OpSafeWinter), an operation designed to help some of the most vulnerable people in our societies. If you have not heard about this operation before, or some of the great things accomplished from it and by people all around the world, no words could explain it any better than the following video.
This year Anonymous has marked December 10th for #OpSafeWinter 2017 and preparations have already been long under way. It is important to note that this operation does not necessarily have to be about homeless people in your community, it could be about helping homeless veterans around the country, raising donations for migrants, refugees, the elderly or any one else! The point of all this is to get people engaged and making a difference in this world by doing something you care about.
If you are interested in doing more or need any help getting an operation started in your community, Anonymous has already designed a guide to help get you started….
Anonymous OpSafeWinter Guide:
Public rallies like this are some of the easiest events to coordinate. All you have to do is design a flyer, print them out, make copies and then start distributing them around high foot traffic areas including schools, day cares, cafe’s, college campuses, restaurants – et cetera. Ask store owners if you can put a flyer up in their store, I think you will find most business owners receptive to promoting a local food/clothing drive in their stores, especially if they can be publicly associated with a charity event. While you are at it, you can also drop a flyer off at your local fire house, police department and town hall just to let people know what you are up to.
When it comes to commercial media, you can try sending out emails to local news agencies, news papers and television stations asking them if they would like to get involved by either promoting your story or covering the event in person. You can also try this with any local radio stations. If people do not start responding right away, keep at it and let people know that you’re for real and not going anywhere.
What information should you include?
Set up a time and date for the event. For example, December 10th 2017. Include an email address, phone number or website where people can coordinate with you or one another if they would like to get involved. Define the purpose of the rally and who you would like to help, as well as some of the things you would like to gather from it. For example, things like food, toiletries, winter clothing, blankets, boots, hygiene products and the like.
One of the most important things that Anonymous would like to convey about #OpSafeWinter is that this is not about “Anonymous” at all, and you do not necessarily have to even call your event OpSafeWinter or make any reference to Anonymous whatsoever. As any “member” of Anonymous will tell you, Anonymous is nothing more than an “idea” and if Anonymous can inspire you to do something great in your community or help someone else, that is all that is really important.
A wise man once said “it is better to light a match then curse the darkness.” Another told us to “be the change you wish to see in the world” and yet another said “The people who are trying to make the world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?” It feels good to do nice things and with just a little time and effort, you can do something positive and make a difference in someones life this winter.
For anyone interested, you can learn more about Anonymous and #OpSafeWinter, as well as find events, groups and pages to follow by simply searching for them on social media – especially Facebook and Twitter. This time of year the “anons” are very active and easy to find.