#DDoS and Internet Freedom

A black & white remix of the UN Globe surrounded with a laurel wreath, an "invisible man" with a question mark where the head should be

Both participation and activism are very necessary to healthy democracy.

Along with all the other confusing things that are happening in the world because of the digital evolution is a new way of protesting. The first I heard of DDoS attacks was when it has been employed in the copyfight. On both sides, I might add. Although I’m not a tech person, I’ve necessarily been learning a lot from many who are for my StopUBB blog, but this DDoS business is something we all need to understand.

So I’m reprinting the comment I made on the Guardian’s Richard Stallman article The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control

Internet Freedom may well be the most important issue of our time.

First,

When the DDoS attacks began I spent days arguing against the Anonymous protest, but I’ve come to understand it is no different than any other peaceful protest. Amazon operates in digital space, so too must the protests.

How I arrived at this conclusion is detailed in my StopUBB blog post DDoS?

And Amazon has the right to not host a company.

Just as the public has the right to picket Amazon.
Like any peaceful protesters, the digital protests are using the same techniques employed by civil rights activists forever.

Please note: these protesters are behaving more ethically than the forces deployed in the DDoS attacks against WikiLeaks. We should be calling what “Anonymous” does Civil Rights Denial of Service protests, or CRDoS

Using digital means to do it does not change the fact that they are engaging in peaceful protest.

Second,

Corporations are NOT branches of law enforcement.
Corporations are immortal artificial constructs that are not accountable to citizens.
Corporations don’t operate on a level playing field with humans,
Corporations exist to make a profit. Nothing else.
Under no circumstances should corporations EVER be allowed to dictate morality or ethics to human beings.

As @FarrenWide points out, the blockage of electronic funds transfer is by far more dangerous.
Why should a banking institution be allowed to tell the citizens of any democracy how they may spend their money?”

That should NEVER happen.


The originating article by Richard Stallman can also be found at Defective By Design: Kettling Wikileaks
a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

11 thoughts on “#DDoS and Internet Freedom

  1. They are not demonstrations; they are criminal behavior and those who perform such things should be treated as the criminals that they are.

    In the case of any who do so in support of America’s enemy, they should be treated exactly the same way we treat any and all illegal combatants who fight against us.

    First we execute Manning; then we assassinate or execute Assange and the people at Wikileaks; then we see what inroads we can make in the culling of their supporters.

  2. Indeed.

    Your lack of understanding leads to your failure to realize that the moment real dissent is silenced, those like yourself will have been deprecated and will find yourself declawed, neutered and enroute to the new gulag. Or worse.

  3. Mad Hatter,

    Currently that’d be the US’ jurisdiction if the servers or network devices are within our borders. I assume that other countries have – or will shortly have – similar laws.

  4. Jonolan,

    Currently that’d be the US’ jurisdiction if the servers or network devices are within our borders. I assume that other countries have – or will shortly have – similar laws.

    What laws? Be specific. Provide links.

    Why is this criminal behavior, and not a civil issue?

    And who is America’s enemy? Obama? Palin? Beck? Who?

  5. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is a law passed by the United States Congress in 1986, intended to reduce cracking of computer systems and to address federal computer-related offenses. The Act (codified as 18 U.S.C. § 1030) governs cases with a compelling federal interest, where computers of the federal government or certain financial institutions are involved, where the crime itself is interstate in nature, or where computers are used in interstate and foreign commerce.
    It was amended in 1988, 1994, 1996, in 2001 by the USA PATRIOT Act, 2002, and in 2008 by the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act. Subsection (b) of the act punishes anyone who not just commits or attempts to commit an offense under the Act, but also those who conspire to do so.

  6. @angry victim

    DDoS is not fraud, and has nothing to do with cracking.

    In common with civil protests in the real world, DDoS is accomplished by doing something that is legal, specifically, visiting a website.

    It is still legal for people to use their computers to visit websites on the internet.

    Again, in common with other forms of civil protest, the large quantity of digital visitors to the targeted website blocks regular access to the website, and can force it to do offline. This is not permanent, any more than picketers blocking access to a brick and mortar place of business is permanent. Once the protesters depart it is back to business as usual.

    Fraud, cracking and identity theft are all illegal, but are not part of a DDoS attack.

    Of course, I am not a lawyer, and I certainly don’t claim to be expert on the Patriot Act, but my understanding is that The Patriot Act has curtailed many civil liberties formerly enjoyed by Americans. It may be that visiting websites on the Internet can be charged as criminal acts under the Patriot Act, but if so I am not aware of this.

  7. And for that matter Angry Victim, DDOS technically isn’t covered by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

    And there is a very good possibility that the United States court system, which is far more independent than the Executive would like, will find that a DDOS is the online equivalent of a picket. In other words, that it’s protected speech.

    If that happens. I expect to see some interesting fireworks.

    Wayne

    • Sure it is. At least in Canada, Picketers are allowed to prevent people from passing on a temporary basis. Often the time is used to hand out literature. Once I was delayed in gaining entrance to a Federal Park because park staff were striking. Whilst we were sitting on the side of the road, picketers wandered by and offered us printed leaflets stating their grievances.

      CRDoS (my chosen acronym is Civil Rights Denial of Service), like picketing, causes a temporary delay.

  8. I think Laurel’s explanation is perfectly reasonable. I was looking for more input on the way people see these DDoS attacks to help me form a decision on whether it should be considered a valid form of peaceful protest or not and I find myself agreeing with her views. Basically a DDoS is nothing more than over-visiting a determined website and, if the server hosting it isn’t capable to deal with the abnormal flux of information it will go down causing it to be temporarily un-accessible. The act itself has nothing illegal in it, you’re not destroying or modifying information in any way and you’re not trying to gain access to private parts of the system and yes, it seems to be the closest thing to a peaceful protest you can get in this digital medium. Thanks for all of your input.

    PS – Jonolan, judging from your profile picture and the contents of your blog you strike me as a person that values his individual liberties and the right to free speech but on the other hand you’d like to hunt down the digital protesters that are helping to keep the internet free so you can voice your opinions as deranged and delusional as they may be. Maybe you should stop to think about that for a second.

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