Internet activist group Anonymous has announced the launch of the ‘Unknown Fund’ – a $75 million donation pot funded in Bitcoin dedicated to the development of “ideas of anonymity”.
According to a press release published earlier today, the fund will be used to accelerate the proliferation of privacy preserving technologies, with preference being given to start-ups and individuals working in the areas of personal data protection, anonymity tools, cryptocurrency, and blockchain.
Who are Anonymous?
The Anonymous Group is a leaderless organisation formed on the English-language image-board 4chan. The group is known for its role in political and internet-based movements.
Anonymous has been described as a ‘hacktivist’ organisation, with some detractors labelling those involved as cyber-criminals and even domestic terrorists.
Despite this, little is known about the group, which has adopted the “man without a head” as its symbol. Members also typically don Guy Fawkes masks to hide their identities.
However, the group’s latest collaborative project is aimed at preventing our sensitive personal data, such as information we share online, from being exploited by companies and for political gain.
This issue has been at the forefront of the public agenda during the past year, following data privacy events such as Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and the use of targeted adverts in the Brexit referendum and US presidential elections.
The Unknown Fund
Following the data breaches and other widespread manipulation of our private data as described above, Anonymous has gathered private donors to form the Unknown Fund, which supposedly has $75 million in Bitcoin ready to invest.
Citing concerns over the heavy use of social media in our daily lives, the group said:
“Now the main goal of large corporations is to collect as much information as possible about the personal lives of people, and then use it for their enrichment. And they do a great job of it by making ordinary people get poorer. We are ready to fight for change and protect people.”
The group believes the Unknown Fund can help change the way our data is used through technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency, which Anonymous describe as “incredible opportunities to protect the rights and freedoms of people”.
The fund is just the beginning, as the press release also indicates that Anonymous has “a number of strategies and methods” to promote anonymity which will be revealed at a later date.
The fund’s message is perhaps best described by the following excerpt from the release:
“This is a chance for humanity to create a new environment, a new and honest monetary system, and to make the world a better place.”
Applicants to the Unknown Fund are invited to apply via the group’s website.