You understand, Anonymous International isn’t my main job — it’s not our main job. We don’t do it all the time. Shaltay Boltay is a byproduct of other games. We do information technology security and … what’s the word?
Yes, that’s it. Information technology danger.
That’s an inaccurate way of putting it. Our work is gaining access [to information]. It doesn’t have to be through hacks.
But you’re capable of hacking people?
Of course. But more often access and information can be obtained by other means. For example, you can go to a cafe and watch what a person does [on his or her laptop]. To get information, sometimes you need to persuade people. Sometimes it’s with a kind word; sometimes it’s with another kind of word. Sometimes it’s with money, and sometimes you’ve got to trade one kind of information for another. We often take on work that’s tied to the Kremlin. After the main work is done, there’s always some information we’ve collected, but never used. That is what makes it to Anonymous International.
Do you have many clients?
We have a small circle of regular clients. It’s enough for us. Our prices start at around $30,000. I won’t say how high they go. We earn enough to live comfortably and to travel.
Who are your clients? To whom do you sell this information?
We’re hired by private individuals and groups within the state, and we never work with anyone tied to the drug trade. But we maintain that we’re an independent team. It’s just that it’s often impossible to tell who our clients are. Sometimes we hand over information to intermediaries, without ever knowing the client.
So, your main work is collecting damaging information on people?
No. Our job is changing the current reality. Sometimes our work is more than collecting information. Some of our work has resulted in the resignation of a governor. We handed over a file to someone who needed it. I won’t name names. Generally, we only release information that’s socially useful. We never share personal data.
So, the only thing you won’t publish is personal data?
And we’ll never publish state secrets.
What if you had data like Snowden’s? Would you leak that?
Most likely not. Not everything needs to be released.
What if the data revealed crimes by the state?
Then we’d release it.
But that’s exactly what Snowden released.
Any specialist in his field was already well aware of what he released.
Whom will you target in your next leaks?
We have about two terabytes of data. A lot of those files are about people close to Vladimir Putin.