Former Anonymous and LulzSec
hackers will speak to each other for the first time in two
years at a special Royal Court event in September. Jake Davis
(AKA Topiary), formerly part of hacktivist group Anonymous and
LulzSec, and Mustafa Al-Bassam, formerly of LulzSec, were banned
from using the internet or communicating with other hacktivists
until June this year.
The pair will take to the Royal Court stage to talk about
hacktivism and the internet ethics of today with cultural
anthropologist and author of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and
Aesthetics of Hacking Gabriella Coleman.
The event will take place on 29 September at 5.30pm and will be
livestreamed on Wired.co.uk.
It will be a momentous occasion for Al-Bassam and Davis, who
have had their communications strictly restricted since being
arrested in 2011. Davis was a spokesperson for both hacktivist
groups, which carried out a series of high-profile hacks of Sony,
News International, the CIA and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime
Agency in 2011. Following an arrest in July of that year he spent
two years wearing an electronic tag and was released in June 2013.
A few months later he appeared at Wired 2013, where he spoke of his dramatic arrest in the
Shetland islands, aged 18. He now works on film and theatrical
projects, providing advice on how to portray hacking culture.
Al-Bassam was a core member of LulzSec when aged 16, and is now
working as a volunteer for Privacy International while studying
computer science at Kings College London.
The Royal Court event is part of a series called The
Big Idea, which also includes a Cryptoparty due to take place 4
The Big Idea was prompted by Teh Internet is Serious
Business, a Royal Court play by Tim Price (17 September — 25
October) that focuses on a suspiciously familiar-sounding story. A
16-year-old London boy and 18-year-old in the Shetland isles meet
online and decide to battle the FBI. It’s a fictional plotline, but
obviously heavily inspired by Davis and Al-Bassam’s stories.