Mexican Drug Cartel Wages War on Social Media

Posted: November 10, 2011 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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Wired first published an article about the standoff between Mexican drug cartel Zetas and notorious hacking group Anonymous on Oct. 30, which escalated when the Zetas kidnapped a member of Anonymous. It then published additional information the following day that “Anonymous Mexico has reportedly cancelled attacks on the Zetas.”

Despite the update, I think an important aspect to note from both the article and sequential update is the power of social media and the Internet today. The controversy began when an Anonymous spokesperson uploaded a video on Oct. 6 stating that it would “reveal the photos, names and addresses of Zetas-affiliated cops and taxi drivers,” if the Zetas did not “release one of the group’s members.” The hacker collective “followed up its threat to the Zetas by defacing the website of former Tabasco state prosecutor Gustavo Rosario Torres” a few weeks later, denouncing him as a Zeta.”

The article mentions the potential of such a threat could provoke the Zetas to launch attacks on social media users “unrelated to anonymous.” Well, yesterday Wired published a new article about the decapitation of the moderator of a popular Mexican social network called Nuevo Laredo en Vivo, allegedly at the hands of the Zetas.

The article goes on to report that he is the fourth victim in the past three months to be “apparently killed […] by organized crime in Mexico” for social media and online activities.

As terrible and disturbing as these events have been, there is definitely something to be said for the power of information based on what’s transpired. The fact that a powerful Mexican drug cartel is targeting new kinds of individuals in this electronic age says plenty for how far we’ve developed in the reach of peoples’ information distribution. There is a new kind of not only fear, but also bravery being developed in terms of the information we, as civilians, put out there.

What are your thoughts?

-Erin Elzo

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