tip off

Anonymous arrests shine a light on some (much) bigger issues

Yesterday, the FBI finally took action in relation to the events around Wikileaks’s release of leaked diplomatic cables. So did the British police, working in concert with them.

Only, it wasn’t Julian Assange hauled up for extradition to the US on charges under the Espionage Act, it was a group of teens arrested for participating in Anonymous’s distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. To the delight of Anonymous’s many opponents, five people were arrested in the UK – all later bailed – and 40 search warrants executed by the FBI in the United States, including in apparently fairly indiscriminate circumstances.

The FBI released a statement warning that DDOS attacks were punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment and that European law enforcement officials were conducting their own investigations. Two Dutch teens were arrested in December.

The DDOS attacks were undertaken by Anonymous in early December in response to Visa, Mastercard and PayPal cutting off the flow of public donations to Wikileaks, as part of a US Government-inspired wave of corporate hostility toward Wikileaks.

The arrests were obviously and correctly overshadowed by events in Egypt, where young men and women have faced a lot worse than arrest over the last 72 hours. Nonetheless, they shine a light on a number of issues, few of them overly favourable to the US Government and its allies.

First, apart from the continuing detention without trial of PFC Bradley Manning, the alleged leaker of the cables, at a Marine base in Virginia, this is the first law enforcement action US authorities have been able to take that is even faintly connected to Wikileaks. This is despite some very strong initial claims about Wikileaks: the allegations that the organisation had endangered lives and damaged US interests – claims since acknowledged to be false; the description of Julian Assange as a “high tech terrorist” by Vice President Biden, chiming with the claim of some right-wing figures that Assange should be hunted down or killed; leaders of US vassal states like Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard declaring Wikileaks “illegal”, and the convening of a secret grand jury in Virginia for the purposes of establishing what charges could be brought against Wikileaks.

At this rate, some Anon teens – erroneously described in some outlets as “Wikileaks hackers” when in fact they’re very likely to be neither – may well be all that authorities can muster. Last week, NBC reported that US military investigators had admitted they couldn’t manage the first step in establishing a criminal case against Wikileaks – linking Assange directly to PFC Manning when he allegedly leaked the cables.

Second, nearly two months on from the DDOS attacks, it remains the case that Visa, Mastercard and PayPal have never satisfactorily explained their decision to blacklist Wikileaks. Indeed, PayPal actually changed its story on why it did so. Visa even commissioned a report on legal issues surrounding Wikileaks but, despite it clearing the organisation, the company has still not lifted its ban on payments.

This is most likely because the legal issue is a furphy. As Crikey showed in December, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal all enable payments to be made by Zionist organisations to fund illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank – illegal under international law and in some cases even illegal under Israeli law. The Guardian also revealed that Visa and Mastercard enabled payments to the Ku Klux Klan in the United States.

Third, DDOSing has sparked an interesting debate within what might, misleadingly and unhelpfully, be termed the online activist community.  DDOS attacks have been compared – perhaps most notably by veteran IT activist Richard Stallman – to sit-ins, linking them firmly to a long tradition of non-violent protest action.  Net Delusion author and critic of “cyber-utopianism”, Evgeny Morozov has also – surprisingly – defended DDOS attacks as potentially legitimate, depending on the circumstances.

This has been challenged by other high-profile online figures like Cory Doctorow on the basis that DDOS is ostensibly anonymous and bears none of the personal consequences of a sit-in or other forms of public action, where you can be arrested and publicly embarrassed.

The DDOS attacks did indeed serve a similar purpose to sit-ins. They significantly raised awareness of the actions of Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, which may well have been lost in the Wikileaks media mix without the dramatic disruptions caused by Anonymous’s response. PayPal also released a considerable sum of donations to Wikileaks shortly after the attacks.

Not surprisingly, Anonymous itself has adopted the Stallman line in its response to the arrests, saying “arresting somebody for taking part in a DDoS attack is exactly like arresting somebody for attending a peaceful demonstration in their hometown.”

The flaw in Anonymous’s argument is that when one elects to take part in a demonstration, one accepts the legal consequences. If the demonstration is a perfectly legal street march, no consequences (should) ensue. But if it’s a sit-in that disrupts a business or traffic, one is liable to being physically handled or arrested. Plainly DDOS attacks are closer to the latter than the former.

This is the basic social contract around the rule of law for protestors: individuals don’t get to pick and choose which laws they are bound by and which they aren’t, even if their goal is to change the law or expose injustice. Whether someone who participated in a DDOS attack knew they were exposing themselves to arrest or not (bearing in mind the most widely-used DDOS tool, Low Orbit Ion Cannon, does nothing to hide your IP address), they face the consequences of that social contract: DDOSing is illegal.

Anonymous’s response to the arrests is on stronger ground when they correctly observe that there’s been a strange silence around denial-of-service attacks on Wikileaks itself, for which responsibility has been claimed by an American online activist and self-described supporter of free speech. This doesn’t seem to have interested the US law enforcement officials who were happy to raid college dorms looking for Anonymous-related material.  Further, as the group notes, DDOS attacks are a relatively minor, temporary disruption, just like a “meatspace” sit-in, and threats of a decade in gaol are grossly disproportionate to the actual offence.  In fact, the Anons may be all the more aggressively prosecuted if they’re the only targets on which an angry and embarrassed US Government can lay hands in the aftermath of Wikileaks.

But there’s a broader dimension to the social contract issue. In accepting the rule of law – and therefore the consequences of purposefully undertaking illegal activities – it helps if the lawful authority itself accepts the same limits on its own actions.

This is plainly not the case in relation to the US Government. The Obama Adminstration, which began with such high hopes of a genuine change from the Bush years, frequently appears indistinguishable from its predecessor in its casual attitude toward the rule of law in matters large-scale and small. For example, it has:

  • declined to investigate Bush Administration officials who oversaw the illegal (need it be said) torture of non-US citizens;
  • itself overseen the torture of a US citizen, Gulet Mohamed, in Kuwait;
  • killed hundreds of civilian through its use of drones to undertake extra-judicial killings of alleged Taliban figures in Pakistan;
  • its draconian aviation security agency has tried – and, fortunately, failed – to prosecute Americans exercising their most basic rights at airports;
  • it has pursued and harassed a Wikileaks associate, net activist Jacob Applebaum, subjecting him to extensive searches at airports and taking electronic equipment from him (usually known as theft, but apparently OK when US federal officials do it).
  • it has even, as part of its so-far fruitless efforts to find a way to prosecute Wikileaks, issued a subpoena directed at an MP of another country.

As with the previous administration, for the Obama Administration, extra-legal and illegal actions are not merely an accidental consequence of the implementation of otherwise legal policy, but a deliberate choice. This is all the more the case when it is reinforced by political support for, and extensive funding of, the illegal actions of client state dictators like Hosni Mubarak, who has only finally come under American pressure this weekend when the brutal and illegal nature of his regime could no longer be hidden (including, of course, with a timely release of Wikileaks cables relating to Egypt).

That changes the moral, if not strict legal, equation when it comes to the rule of law and those choosing to protest against it.

But DDOS is only one tool used by Anonymous, and may in the future not even be its primary one. With Hosni Mubarak’s decision to shut down the Internet and mobile phone services in Egypt, Anonymous’s tactic of DDOSing Egyptian Government websites was rendered moot. While some continued to point their LOICs at Egyptian Embassy sites around the globe, efforts within the group quickly switched to more analog tactics. While faxes were originally being used to spam Egyptian police stations, Anonymous’s #OpEgypt group switched to mass-faxing Wikileaks cables about Egypt into the country to ensure their dissemination. They provided information and anonymisation tools for the small proportion of Egyptians who managed to stay online, as well as trying to find internet connections that still functioned inside the country, and digging up information on dial-up internet services and what must have seemed like the antediluvian technology of ham radio in order to disseminate information.

Similar tasks were also admirably taken on by others like the European group Telecomix, the Huffington Post and Applebaum, who has done outstanding work tracking the Mubarak shutdown and ways to respond to it, all part of a broader determination to ensure Egyptians were not abandoned and cut off.

In fact, as Friday night progressed and Mubarak’s communications blackout remained in place, the mood among some #OpEgypt members toward DDOS seemed to turn hostile, particularly when others urged attacks on Vodafone (for its role in shutting down mobile services) and the British police in response to the arrests. “DDOS addicts give anon a bad name. quit blindly asking for targets that will come after you such as scotland yard,” urged one member.

This debate over tactics is another variation of a much wider argument over the meaning of social media and the internet in these Northern African revolutions, in which both critics of and enthusiasts for social media obsess over software and platforms rather than the people using them and what they can be used for. The software is only important to the extent that it enables collaboration between like-minded activists, potentially on a global scale, and that has been demonstrated first in Tunisia and now in Egypt, even when some of the tools of collaboration are removed by a desperate regime. Anonymous itself put it succinctly in a recent media release that, once you look past the rhetoric and sexist terminology, describes exactly the nature of what it has been engaged in. “The means by which humans may collaborate has exploded – not expanded, not increased, but exploded – in such a way as to allow any man on earth to talk and work with any other man.”

Anonymous, like social media itself, has been criticized as representing armchair activism, in which participants expose themselves to no threat or danger, or for that matter even inconvenience, while earning the warm inner glow of Doing Something that has no real-world consequences. That some Anonymous members may have found themselves under arrest undermines the notion that there’s no risk involved.

More to the point, though, in the right circumstances, mobilizing “armchair activists” can prove important. No one has suggested online action alone will achieve anything. And people in the West can’t join the men and women demonstrating and dying in the streets of Cairo. But they can push their own governments to take action, they can pressure the Western media to focus on what’s happening (rather than leaving all the heavy lifting to Al Jazeera English), they can support those demonstrating by developing ways to keep communications open so that dictators can’t act with impunity, and they can raise awareness about those companies and governments that support dictatorial regimes.

All this taps resources never before available on such a scale to people struggling for their freedom. And it is not technology, software or media platforms that provide the resources, but the collaboration and connections across the globe that they enable.


Please login below to comment, OR simply register here :

  • 1
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    The attempt to liken a denial-of-service attack to a mere inconvenience is grossly naive. It is a blunt, crude attack, and to suggest that it has no real world impact is deliberately misleading. And, now that everyone thinks that they’re savvy to biased journalism (the author of this blog included), all like to side with the little guy, exercising his only method of activism that has been openly condemned, openly publicised and shown to have severe economic implications.

    A ten year sentence may seem severe to bloggers, but you’ll get more than that for sticking up a gas-station for a couple of hundred. DDOS attacks have caused billions in loss, and the dollar-to-time ratio is as generous as you’ll ever get.

    All those that side for Assange are clearly more excited about the result than the meaning, and this is the real concern. Real activists like Daniel Ellsberg (The Pentagon Papers), actually put their existence on the line anonymously, asking nothing from the media, sponsors or donators. Assange is a showman with a clear anti-US agenda. The question is, do unassociated bloggers and authors really want to go down in history with a webmaster, not a real activist?

  • 2
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    I like this article. It is balanced, and written with common sense, which is a refreshment amid the spin and hypocrisy of most of the mainstream media on the topic.

    @GreenInferno: Apparently, you do not have a problem with the fact that DDoS attacks were first used (and are still used daily) to suppress the Wikileaks website itself. No government cares to prosecute these “criminals”, and no mainstream media cares to even report that fact. Moreover, you seem more concered about the few-hour downtime to MC, VISA, Paypal, etc, than about the obviously illegal actions by these companies to deny a customer its rights by cutting off funds for a media outlet. You might not care that there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by Wikileaks, and indeed not even any charges pressed against them. In other words, you are either successfully brainwashed, or a government employee.

  • 3
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    Wow, GreenInferno, clearly you’ve got no idea how protests work. Have you ever walked through a sit-in taking place in a lobby or crossed a picket line to make a purchase or go to work? The goal of protest is clearly disruption of service, whether that’s done physically psychologically or digitally it makes no difference. If you read the rest of the article you’d see that DDoS is not the only weapon in the arsenal either, and is even losing favor due to the negative attention. I personally like the comparison of anon’s LOIC with a sit-in, it makes a lot of sense considering the purpose of both is clearly to disrupt business. Sit-ins aren’t exactly legal either, there are limits to what you can legally do during a protest and people have been arrested for their nonviolent resistance.

    If a handful of teens get arrested, they can count themselves among the ranks of those persecuted for trying to change the world. The fight for human rights on the internet and in much of the world is entirely comparable to anything you consider “valid” from previous years. Remember all the protests and sit-ins for racial equality in the U.S.? Would you say, today, that the police officers were warranted in turning the fire hoses and dogs on non-violent protests? People were arrested, persecuted and killed for little more than standing up for rights they should have always had in the first place. This is no different.

    The internet doesn’t belong to the governments. They might have started this thing a long time ago but it’s ours now, it belongs to all of us. The internet was designed – BY THEM – to be widely distributed, open and nearly impossible to destroy. Sure, most of the people in Egypt have no internet right now but the fact that some still do speaks volumes. You can’t simply silence the internet, you can’t police it and you sure as hell can’t control it. As the old quote goes “The net views censorship as damage and routes around it.” – Some of us wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I agree that Assange is a showman with questionable intent and possibly one or more agendas, but the fact remains that the KKK also has showmen with, well, not really questionable intent but certainly despicable intent, and you can still donate to them with PayPal and you can still use your credit card to buy a white robe with a pointy hat. That’s what this is all about, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that because one group just hates ethnic minorities they’re ok but because another group has an agenda against a certain government they’re not. People are people regardless of their skin color or job title so if we’re going to allow one group of people to hate another, speak freely about it etc. then how is it at all right to block another group merely because the subset of people they hate is different?

    Once upon a time, biology became too slow of a force for we humans, so we started evolving sociologically – behavioral could first be seen in generations (the king is dead, long live the king) and today in decades or even shorter spans. Now sociology is not keeping up with our needs. As we learn more about our world the more complicated everything becomes, things don’t change once in a generation or once in a decade, most things change more than once in a year, and some things change multiple times daily. Sociology just can’t keep up with that kind of change – but technology can.

    See, Green, your problem is that you still think with boundaries. You still think about political parties, countries, et. al. as though they are actual things. On certain scales it’s easy enough to ignore those boundaries. Here in my hometown of Las Vegas you wouldn’t make the distinction between someone who lives in neighboring Henderson or Summerlin, we’re all in this thing together. It’s also not hard to say that Nevada and California are part of the same country, so really we’re not that different either – why should I care less about someone in another state than my neighbors down the block? Why can’t we extend that past national boundaries? Why is an Australian somehow different from an American who is then different from Canadians, Mexicans, etc.? We are all human, all the same species all on the same planet. In any scale that really matters you and I are equivalent. Welcome to the new ideology, welcome to the next step of human evolution. Today, we’ve taken out or globes and maps and begun to erase lines. People who have a great deal at stake in maintaining those lines, those groups, those things that separate us aren’t going to like it, but it’s an evolutionary force, as inevitable as the tides, the moon and the sun. Anon and its kin will not be stopped because they are incarnations of the human spirit, blazing the trail into new territory so that others may some day follow.

    Green, I want to make it clear that part of practicing what I preach here means that you recognize that this isn’t an attack. I probably loathe a great many things that you hold close to your heart. I probably would not enjoy holding a political discussion with you for more than a few minutes. But I don’t hate or even dislike you. You’re a person with a brain and ideas, just like me. By most meaningful standards, as I said, there’s not really much difference between us. I don’t view you as the enemy, I see you as a lost or misguided brother/sister and anything I say comes from a place of love. I want, within my lifetime, to see all humanity united without borders. 15 or 20 years ago I would have said it couldn’t happen within my lifetime, sociology works too slowly. Now that we’ve woven the internet and other technologies into our sociological fabric it just might be possible.

  • 4
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Enmaku…Wow….This is where you imagine hearing a grand cornucopia of applause. Epic. You just won the internets, FTW! :D

  • 5
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    A ten year sentence may seem severe to bloggers, but you’ll get more than that for sticking up a gas-station for a couple of hundred. DDOS attacks have caused billions in loss, and the dollar-to-time ratio is as generous as you’ll ever get.

    The reason a gaol sentence for “sticking up a gas station” is longer (or should be, at any rate) is because you’ve pointed a gun at someone and threatened their life. Whether the perpetrator walks out of such a situation with a hundred dollars or a billion, is a minor issue in context.

    DDoSes are absolutely little more than inconveniences. They are short-lived, and cause no harm to people or property. The nearest real-life analogies are sit-ins, people chaining themselves to trees or railroad tracks, union blockades, and the like. No-one sane suggests anyone doing those things should be thrown in prison for a decade.

    A minor offense does not become a major crime just because it happens on the internet.

  • 6
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    While we are on the subject of cyber attacks. Who will be prosecuting the American and Israeli secret services for their viral attacks on Iran’s enrichment plant software?
    It seems to me that a government can break the law, in our name, with impunity. Under the guise of protecting the state. Should such actions be taken by anyone else it is deemed illegal and prosecuted, classic double standard.

    Thinking people realize that when criminal actions are taken by our governments in our name, against our own laws, they are no longer legitimate democracies. What you really have is Fascism.

    Fascism (pronounced /ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy. Fascism was originally founded by Italian national syndicalists in World War I who combined extreme right-wing political views along with collectivism. Scholars generally consider fascism to be on the far right.
    Fascists believe that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong.

    Rather than criticizing collective action against the system, it may be beneficial to investigate why it is taking place.

  • 7
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    ‘Anonymous’ uses a DDOS program which is not anonymous at all. Arresting those dumb enough to use the program will hopefully teach the ‘netizen’ that laws are created to protect the powerful, and confronting the powerful is always costly.

  • 8
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    You mean a government employee like Daniel Ellsberg, or PFC Manning? You’re freshman campus-club activism is meant to stick up for the government employees – you know, the ones that HAVE ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION.

    Also, I have no idea how protests work, and neither does anyone who makes a DDOS attack, or are you equating true examples such as Abby Hoffman with anyone with Low Orbit software?

    People like you are supporting ANY activism, not the right kind. Unhelpful activism is not worth supporting – helpful activism (such as Ellsberg’s release) are worth supporting. Discriminate, don’t just support some vague idea of upheaval because you thought ‘V for Vendetta’ was a cool movie.

  • 9
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Your comment implies that white collar criminalism is acceptable because you think it doesn’t harm people or property – which it does and HAS. (The New York blackout, for example).

    And for the record, a stick-up can happen as peacefully as any protest – you can stick up a bank with a banana.

    There’s a giant misconception that all on this board are promoting: cyber-attacks don’t count as real attacks. This is usually because of generation gap, and lack of understanding between the cyber and practical worlds.

  • 10
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Your comment implies that white collar criminalism is acceptable because you think it doesn’t harm people or property – which it does and HAS. (The New York blackout, for example).

    No, it doesn’t.

    And for the record, a stick-up can happen as peacefully as any protest – you can stick up a bank with a banana.

    Do you think someone is going to rob a gas station with a banana (how ?), and be thrown in gaol for 10 years without some other factor(s) being involved ?

    There’s a giant misconception that all on this board are promoting: cyber-attacks don’t count as real attacks.

    Actually, no, the argument being made is that a DDoS is non-violent.

  • 11
    shadow boxer
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I seem to recall that Assange was once caught hacking as a youngster & this seems to have been a primary motivation for his present activities & what is happening today. So just as the oppression of marginalised youth by USA gov’t (eg say in iraq) creates tomorrows terrorist, most of these youth will probably now be hell bent determined on doing somthing akin to Assange in years to come. hilarious.

    Sadly it doesnt take much effort to mask your digital location when particiating in a DDoS, or any level of hacking, so its possible that those arrested were very young, & although eager to show solidarity, were lacking some basic hacker knowledge & a dose of mature judgement.

  • 12
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    No, you said “absolutely little more than inconveniences”, which is hopelessly ignorant. It certainly does imply that it is non-criminal act – you are an apologist for vandalistic ‘activists’.

  • 13
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    No, you said “absolutely little more than inconveniences”, which is hopelessly ignorant.

    I’ve been responsible for managing systems on the receiving end of a DDoS attack. I have a rough idea about how they work.

    It certainly does imply that it is non-criminal act – you are an apologist for vandalistic ‘activists’.

    No, it implies it is a non-destructive and non-violent act, which it is.

  • 14
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink


    Although I am, as you know, one of Anonymous’ many opponents, the fact that a few insignificant puppets may discover the consequences of illegal acts (no matter how passionately they believe the laws are wrong) does not bring me delight.

    But more importantly, I agree with you that there are bigger issues in play. Actually, and surprisingly, I agreed with a considerable portion of your commentary.

    I also agree that it is hypocritical for authorities to pursue the Anons who DDoS’d financial institutions, but not those who DDoS’d Wikileaks. But two points: 1) If a police officer pulls you over for speeding, it doesn’t help to complain that other people were speeding too; and 2) That is what prejudice is all about — treating people differently because of how you pre-judge them. And one of the funny things about prejudice is that people often see it when it exists far away, while remaining blind to their own. As the token Scientologist, I have found it impossible to have rational discourse on the pages of Crikey without “opponents” frothing at the mouth with rabid stereotypes, mindlessly echoing exaggerated tabloid claims that they robotically believe to be fact.

    Which leads to another point. Speaking of Anonymous in terms of virtues or faults is meaningless. Good and bad are of course subjective terms. But more importantly, the Anonymous idea of the “hive mind” may or may not be an appropriate analogy. A hive consists of workers, drones, etc., who serve their queen. Where the queen goes, the hive follows without thinking, without question. But even if we admit that Anonymous has a queen or queens, let’s face it, the hive is not exactly consistent, with much activity that is mindless in a way that would not even please a Buddhist queen.

    So, while it may be noble to seek to assist oppressed people, such moral pursuits are hardly native to the Anonymous species.

    And here is the fundamental flaw at the root of Anonymous: Above all else, they proclaim the importance of the cliche, “information wants to be free.” All censorship is bad. Any information withheld from the internets is an affront. No one has the right to conceal any information. (If you believe the story, their whole campaign against Scientology began because someone wanted to remove a video clip which had been posted without permission.) So nobody has any right to choose whether or not personal information is made public. Information wants to be free. Yet THEY are all anonymous. They choose to withhold their identities. And of course they have perfectly logical (to them) reasons why it is right for them to hide their personal information. (Law enforcement would pursue them. The evil corporate masters would hunt them down. The Scientologists would eat them up. Their parents would spank them. Whatever.)

    Anons complain that it is hypocrisy to have two sets of rules — one for the corporate masters (Visa, PayPal, etc) and another set for Wikileaks, etc. But they have two sets of rules at their very core. They are like the American founding fathers who proclaimed equality while keeping slaves. Anonymous proclaims freedom of information and ridicules the arguments of anyone advocating ANY privacy, regardless of the harm of exposure, while they go to insane lengths to protect their own privacy.

    GreenInferno: I enjoyed your comments.

    enmaku: I applaud your enthusiasm, but your analogies don’t stand up to much challenge. And maybe in Las Vegas you think there is nothing different between an Australian, an American, a Canadian and a Mexican. Of course they are different. There is nothing wrong with being different. Time to venture out from the hive dude and meet some people.

    drsmithy: you say the argument being made is that a DDoS is non-violent. I think you need to listen to Bernard and take a look at some of the bigger issues in play.

  • 15
    ferengi leninist
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    “five people were arrested in the UK – all later bailed – and 40 search warrants executed by the FBI in the United States, including in apparently fairly indiscriminate circumstances.”

    “We’re sorry, but you’ve attempted to access a page that does not exist. ”

    Most chuckleworthy.

  • 16
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Jacob Greenbaum? Perhaps you mean Jacob Appelbaum?


  • 17
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    Bloody hell, Keane, you’re on a roll. Well done.

  • 18
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    you say the argument being made is that a DDoS is non-violent.

    If you think you can explain how sending a lot of information over a network is “violent”, by all means give it a shot.

    I think you need to listen to Bernard and take a look at some of the bigger issues in play.

    How are the “bigger issues at play” relevant to whether or not a DDoS is non-violent ?

  • 19
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    drsmithy I realize you are not likely to take my advice, but if you could pull back gently on the throttle of your petulance you may find your blindness is not incurable.

    My point is not that a DDoS is violent. I was merely refuting your assertion that the question of whether or not it fit your definition of violence is “the argument being made.”

    I don’t think anyone is making that “the” argument. I certainly don’t see that in Bernard’s piece. I believe I may have used the term in another thread, but if you took that to mean violence in the sense portrayed by your favorite video game you can hardly blame others for your limited vocabulary. In that other thread you told me, “I think you need to consult a dictionary.”

    If you have one, take a look. In addition to your GTA concept, “violence” can also mean “Abusive or unjust exercise of power,” or “Abuse or injury to meaning, content or intent,” or “Vehemence of feeling or expression; fervour.”

    As for your second “question,” they are not.

    Here is a question for you: Do you believe peace in the Middle East is possible?

  • 20
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    My point is not that a DDoS is violent. I was merely refuting your assertion that the question of whether or not it fit your definition of violence is “the argument being made.”

    Well it’s certainly the aspect of the discussion *I* have been responding to, which was not only a key point in Bernard’s article (the third one, to be precise), but also the first comment by GreenInferno attempting to draw a parallel between that and “sticking up a gas station”. Which, while not quite as ridiculous as your attempt in another discussion to put it in the same league as “terrorism”, is well down the same path.

    I believe I may have used the term in another thread, but if you took that to mean violence in the sense portrayed by your favorite video game you can hardly blame others for your limited vocabulary.

    I meant it in the way it is typically used, particularly with regards to the law and protesting. Hence my comment included some well-known and widely accepted examples of non-violent actions to demonstrate that context.

    If you have one, take a look. In addition to your GTA concept, “violence” can also mean “Abusive or unjust exercise of power,” or “Abuse or injury to meaning, content or intent,” or “Vehemence of feeling or expression; fervour.”

    Very good. Which one of those do you think is apropos to a random group of people with a legitimate complaint sending traffic over a network to cause a temporary interruption in service ?

    How would it be any different to the random group of people with a legitimate complaint chaining themselves to train tracks to cause a temporary disruption in the operation of Bayswater Power Station last year ? Or would you call them “violent” “terrorists” as well ?

  • 21
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    @drsmithy: you have a very good point there!

  • 22
    Bernard Keane
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Clausen – thank you. I can’t believe I did that. Into the sin bin for me.

  • 23
    darren sy
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    This has been a good information for the authoring agency who are responsible in handling wikileaks issues. This situation now giving them a chance to arrest who are behind this massive wikileaks and espionage.

    darren @ ipad case store.

Please login below to comment, OR simply register here :

Womens Agenda


Smart Company