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Anonymous Files Petition To Make DDoS Legal Form of Protest 323

hypnosec writes "Anonymous has filed a petition with the U.S. Government asking the Obama administration to make Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks a legal form of protest. Anonymous has argued that because of advancements in internet technology, there is a need for new ways of protest. The hacking collective doesn't consider DDoS as a form of attack and equates it to hitting the 'refresh' button on a webpage. Comparing these attacks to the 'occupy' protests, Anonymous notes that instead of people occupying an area, it is their computers occupying a website for a particular period of time."
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Anonymous Files Petition To Make DDoS Legal Form of Protest

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  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <mark@a@craig.gmail@com> on Thursday January 10, 2013 @08:52PM (#42553149)

    Nope. It's akin to a union strike or a mob of protesters having a sit-in and handcuffing themselves together to DENY ACCESS to some location. That's denial of service. It makes the people in control of that location, and sometimes the clients who are dependent upon it, very angry, sometimes violently so. The whole point of denial-of-access protests is that they DO have a social cost that forces people to take notice.

  • Occupy public space (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @09:08PM (#42553315)
    Generally, you can't occupy private property. Protests need to be on public property. So how about this. You can only ddos .gov sites. Let's see how far that flies.
  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @09:09PM (#42553331) Journal

    "It's only censorship if the government does it"

  • Re:Mannequin Attack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @09:25PM (#42553473)
    My favorite are the meatspace DDoS attacks. There was one in Dallas where the protesters went to a busy intersection, and walked around in circles around the intersection, obeying traffic laws, but the extra time for walk signals disrupted traffic timing, and everyone got a chance to stop and see the signs. There are lots of things people can do in meatspace that get in people's way that are explicitly legal. We just don't do it because we fear the law.
  • Re:Mannequin Attack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @09:29PM (#42553509)

    if legal, would be dominated by those with money and resources.

    Or the biggest network of other people's compromised machines.

    And lets face it, that is what this is really about: legalizing bot nets as a free speech issue.

  • by sco08y ( 615665 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @09:46PM (#42553663)

    In person protests also affect commerce. Last summer, in Montreal, there were weeks of protests with hundreds of thousands of people clogging the entire downtown core. It was incredibly disruptive for a whole lot of businesses.

    Yes, and those protests are not free speech but civil disobedience. The first reality of civil disobedience is that you should expect to wind up in jail. The second reality is you probably deserve it.

    Virtually all those protests do violate the rights of others. People really do have a right to go freely about their business, and you don't have any right to scream in someone's face.

    In aggregate, society benefits from these protests and they're a necessary part of the political dynamic. Many times people just won't listen until you raise all hell.

    But that's an appeal to the greater good, fundamentally arguing that the ends justify the means. They don't. If you've ever been part of those protests, you owe those people an apology.

  • Ya I'm ok with it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @09:51PM (#42553719)

    So long as the anon-tards are ok with me blocking them in their houses with a fleet of ROVs. Same basic deal as what they are talking about: Using a ton of automatically controlled systems to deny access. If they aren't ok with it being done to them, in the real world, then why should we be ok with them doing it to others on computers?

    The other thing about DDoS attacks is they almost always involve breaking the law anyhow, by using botnets. Unless you legally have access to 100% of the systems you are using AND the ToS of the providers allows you to generate traffic of the levels you do, then you are already in the wrong. Exploiting systems and using them for a botnet is not legal and it should be extremely obvious why.

    These morons don't want a legit protest, because next to nobody agrees with them and they are lazy. If they went out for a physical protest, they'd get like 20 people to show up for one day and it'd be ignored. So they want to use sleazy, illegal, tactics to try and amplify their voice.

    It also ignores the fundamental point of a protest. A protest is NOT to disrupt activity, particularly not to have just a couple people do so. It is to show large scale support or opposition for something. It is to let the public, and the government, know that a lot of people want something. It is impressive by its size.

    If 250k people show up in a park and protest something, that is impressive, that is something to be noticed, respected. The large number of people makes it noteworthy. If I rent out a shitload of video and sound equipment so I can broadcast myself all over a park, and protest alone, that doesn't make it noteworthy, other than as to what an egomaniac I am.

    They don't want freedom, they want tyranny, where they get to be the tyrants. A large segment of the public refusing to do business with a company because of their policies is freedom in its fullest. A small group of people shutting down a company's ability to do business because they don't like it is not.

  • Re:Mannequin Attack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sentrion ( 964745 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @10:41PM (#42554093)

    Your robot comment may have been meant as a joke, but there really is such a thing as a professional protestor. The going rate is reportedly $11/hr. I'm actually developing the website for a company that is booking passenger space on cargo ships to bring over 200-500 men and women with tourist visas from Jakarta, Mumbai, and Abidjan who have agreed to do the job in exchange for free room and board (which might be a tent in Times Square and two bowls of soup each day) until their visas expire. The owner claims that several organizations have signed contracts to employ his services to protest issues ranging from crime and poverty to offshore outsourcing, illegal immigration, and exploitation of workers. How they're going to get back home I have no idea.

  • Re:Mannequin Attack (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sentrion ( 964745 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @11:04PM (#42554257)

    1984. It was a novel published in 1949 written as entertainment and perhaps as a warning against the suppression and manipulation of free thought, but today it is the most popular textbook in the world's top business schools. If you want to know why the Koch brothers were the ones behind OWS you should read it.

    In all seriousness, the largest single donor to the movement was former New York Mercantile Exchange vice chairman Robert Halper, who was noted by media as having also given the maximum allowable campaign contribution to Mitt Romney.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_Wall_Street [wikipedia.org]

    http://gawker.com/5850730/the-single-largest-benefactor-of-occupy-wall-street-is-a-mitt-romney-donor [gawker.com]

  • Re:Mannequin Attack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by electron sponge ( 1758814 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @01:09AM (#42554883)

    I'm actually developing the website for a company that is booking passenger space on cargo ships to bring over 200-500 men and women with tourist visas from Jakarta, Mumbai, and Abidjan who have agreed to do the job in exchange for free room and board (which might be a tent in Times Square and two bowls of soup each day) until their visas expire.

    This kind of sounds like indentured servitude, which is illegal in the US (INAL, but if you assist, you might be construed as aiding & abetting, even it is via a contract).

    On another note, I'm guessing (let me repeat that: I'm guessing) the sorts that would resort to professional protesters are likely left-wing types trying to inflate their presence. The same types that routinely rail against monetary abuses in politics. If you want to protest fine. Have the balls to do it yourself, in person, instead of hiring a substitute.

    In regards to the petition, no, it's not the same as an in-person protest. A protest is to make yourself & your issue heard. A DDOS does none of that. There is no message with a DDOS. It's impossible to convey a message to those people that are legitimately conducting commerce with the targets. i.e. preventing me from logging into my bank's website to pay my mortgage. In this example, you're not just hurting the institution, you're also hurting private innocent individuals. If anonymous takes down Chase or BofA, you're affecting tens of millions of private citizens trying to pay their bills, credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc. Missing payments results in penalties, adversely affects credit scores which results in higher borrowing costs down the line. So no, it's not the same as an in-person protest, it's felony vandalism with the potential to cost innocent bystanders millions of dollars as a collective.

    Just after I got out of the US Navy back in the spring of '99, I saw an ad in The Stranger, the local leftist weekly newspaper in the Seattle area. It's a good paper and is well respected in the Pacific Northwest as a decent alternative news source. I don't know if it still is, but it was then... anyway. A group of people put out an ad looking for folks with a military background for a protest against the powers that be. Being just the sort of dude they were looking for, and being completely unemployed, I looked into it. What they were looking for were people who were trained in CBR warfare, and "not that we're asking for it" access to gas masks and replacement filters for the masks. I was extremely uneasy with their general demeanor combined with what they were suggesting, so I turned them down.

    What followed was the "Battle of Seattle", the 1999 WTO riots. After my contact with the bastards who ended up instigating the riot, I took the ferry across the Sound that fateful day with the bleak hope of warning the police that this wasn't just a run-of-the-mill protest, or at the very least seeing what the fuck was about to go down. By the time I got downtown, the unmistakable scent of tear gas was evident. My compatriots and I made our way to the top of a parking garage overlooking a section of downtown Seattle which was particularly populated with folks we recognized as anarchists. We watched them smash windows and cause mayhem. Meanwhile a couple blocks away, people who either truly believed in protesting the WTO or who were paid to sit there with gas masks on were pepper sprayed by the Seattle PD. Those who wore gas masks took a real beating. They took a beating in order to be a distraction to the police, while the anarchists had their way with businesses blocks away.

    The moral to the story is, if you think your protest is organic, and it ends up being huge, it probably isn't organic. It's astroturf. Someone's bankrolling it. Things like the march on Washington lead by MLK are the exception rather than the rule.

    Long story short, nothing is what it seems and the cake is a lie. If you think you are doing a good thing by joining a populist uprising, do your due diligence. Learn who they are and what they intend to do. Most of the time they want you for nothing more than cannon fodder.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @02:10AM (#42555171) Journal

    Shouting is a form of protest, how do you feel about a megaphone?

    How would you feel about Opera's automatic page refresh option?

    Hitting the key with some kind of mechanism for easy repetition?

    If you believe a healthy society should have a way for people to demonstrate, to protest, you got to accept that this can only be done if they can be an inconvenience to someone. If all protests had to be done in some remote field where nobody is bothered by it, protests would be meaningless.

    One of the best ways to create a repressive society is to get the plebs to suppress themselves. The company store is an oldie but goodie, get the workers to buy on credit all they want, then when they want to protest... that is just fine, just collect their due payments as per agreement. The houses for votes scandals was based on this, house owners are tied to their mortgage and so less likely to protest because they might miss a payment, neither can they move freely to a different area to chase jobs. Car ownership? The same, you need that car and it needs paying whether you are working or not. So you better make sure no strikes close the gates and keep those Saudi's happy by letting them run their sandy North-Korea with zero hassle so the petrol keeps coming. Just see how on occasion the Saudi's lower the oil price JUST before they are going to execute a child just to remind the west what the deal is. You get the petrol, we get to do whatever we want.

    It is the UN trying to say freedom of speech can't mean saying stuff that upsets someone. No my dear Nazi, it means EXACTLY that, you do NOT need freedom of speech to say things that don't upset anyone. I can go to north-korea and Saudi Arabia and say "kittens are cute" and most likely nothing will happen to me. It is saying in the American South that gay marriage should be a basic right that you need freedom of speech protection. And MORE then just from the state (see top gear episode, the ONLY time the team was attacked by the locals) because that is a shameless US cop out.

    Protesters are a hassle, so is a free society. It has always been clear that the easiest society to live in would be that of a benevolent dictator such as the fictional Patrician of Ankh-Morpork in the Discworld series. Pity such a person is so fucking rare as to be non-existent.

    See how often fascism is excused by making the trains run on time. Sure, OTHER people might disappear for saying the wrong thing but my train is on time so that is allright then.

    Freedom is messy, a hassle and inconvenient when others exercise theirs. Deal with it.

  • Re:Mannequin Attack (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamwahoo2 ( 594922 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @12:22PM (#42558589)

    I think to clarify the position of Anonymous in this case, it is important to recognize that the DDOS attacks were not performed with botnets, or comprimised machines. Instead, they were performed by individuals volunteering their own time and resources. Not the time and resources of unsuspecting innocents. Does that change your opinion?

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.