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Gabriella (Biella) Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she researches, writes, and teaches on computer hackers and digital activism. She is the author of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking.
"The U.S. government and its allies have spent years castigating, prosecuting, and jailing members of Anonymous, with the director of the NSA going so far as to warn ominously of the potential of an Anonymous-led power blackout. But Gabriella Coleman's fascinating history of Anonymous makes clear that almost all of the hacktivism attributed to this global collective has been devoted to exposing wrongdoing, not wreaking destruction, even as she also carefully shows that Anonymous is not a shadowy organization but a loosely knit collection of activists all over the globe, fighting for government and corporate transparency. The NSA's treatment of Anonymous is disturbing and extreme, and Anonymous's surprising activist turn is heartening. Essential reading." Glenn Greenwald, author of No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State "An engrossing, accessible, and intelligent study illuminating the ambiguities of Anonymous and its implications for the future of online political activism." Times Literary Supplement "Coleman charts her own conceptual course, breaking with the standard narratives, particularly the click-baity cautionary tales about the dangers of Anonymous. Her book offers its share of warnings, but ones more nuanced, compelling, and empathetic than the typical hand-wringing about online mobs and the conundrum of virtual vigilante justice. Coleman is no cheerleader...But she also doesn't wag her finger from some imagined high ground." Astra Taylor, Bookforum "In Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, Coleman reveals the group in all its complexity ... this in-depth account might leave readers in awe of the sheer scope of the group and how much they have achieved while shunning the traditional trappings of leaders, hierarchy and individual fame-seeking." Financial Times "a long-awaited and compelling study of the activist collective... Anyone interested in Anonymous, or the shape of protest in the age of the internet, will find abundant new details and smart insight here." Guardian "Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy penetrate[s] the chaotic, ad hoc, contradictory world of the Anons... What Gabriella Coleman has done, with a fine eye and a storyteller's talent, is to untangle the hairball just enough to get a sense of its topology, its power and its limits - if not its direction. That is anyone's guess." The Spectator "[Coleman's] painstaking research takes the reader right into the heart of the group, where she begins explaining the history of the broad movement of hackers known to the outside world as Anonymous... without doubt one of the biggest authorities in the world on the subject of Anonymous" Independent "[An] eye-opening ethnography...This all-access pass into the dark and wild corners of the Internet is timely, informative, and also frightening." Publishers Weekly "Anonymous seems like a potent adversary. Like ISIS, the group is shadowy and technologically savvy, perhaps making it the perfect weapon against a terrorist group that uses social media as a recruiting and propaganda tool.But for Gabriella Coleman, the author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, the rush to embrace the group could be premature." CBC News "Brilliantly lucid and informative." - Alan Moore, New York Times "Gabriella Coleman's detailed ethnographic and historical account of the internet collective Anonymous-ranging from its origin on random 4Chan bulletin boards to its role in the Occupy movement and beyond-will prove to be a watershed book in the study of online activism." - Bernard Doherty, Nova Religio