Anthropologist Gabriella "Biella" Coleman has been active in the research of hacker communities and Internet activism for many years. The "Anonymous" collective in particular has grabbed her attention. In November 2014, she published the comprehensive study "Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous" (Verso Publishing London). The book is an intriguing blend of storytelling and academic contents. Coleman was in close contact with the activists and was able to get to know many of the actors over the years and conduct interviews.
And after four years, Biella is finally back at re:publica. She presented first results from her research on Anonymous in 2011. At #rp15 in May, she will speak about the hacker collective again. This time, she wants to show why they cannot simply be labelled a “terrorist group” – despite the US government’s efforts to achieve just that. In light of this year’s re:publica motto, she also wants to address the significant role of European hacktivism.
Today Gabriella Coleman is a professor for scientific and technological literacy at McGill University in Montreal. In addition to Anonymous, her fields of research include open source production and intellectual property legislation.