Anonymous Seeks to Legalize DDoS Attacks

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Anonymous Seeks to Legalize DDoS Attacks

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The good folks of Anonymous want the U.S. government to declare DDoS attacks a constitutionally-protected form of protest.

Distributed denial-of-service attacks are kind of a hallmark of Anonymous. The group - and yes, I realize it's more of an amorphous mob of whoever feels like getting up to hijinks at any particular moment - decides that it's really mad about something, issues the standard "We Are Legion" boilerplate and then blammo, somebody rolls out the Low Orbit Ion Cannon. Aggravation abounds.

It's illegal, naturally, but some sharp thinkers are trying to change that through a petition filed on the official White House web site. "With the advance in internet technology, comes new grounds for protesting. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), is not any form of hacking in any way. It is the equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage," the petition, entitled "Make distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) a legal form of protesting," states.

"It is, in that way, no different than any 'occupy' protest," it continues. "Instead of a group of people standing outside a building to occupy the area, they are having their computer occupy a website to slow (or deny) service of that particular website for a short time." The petition also calls for the release of people who have been jailed for launching DDoS attacks.

It's a silly idea with no hope of success, but it does actually have some grounding in legitimacy. The First Amendment declares, among other things, that Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances," which according to the Illinois First Amendment Center expressly provides the right of the public "to march, protest, demonstrate, carry signs and otherwise express their views in a nonviolent way." That, the petition contends, is exactly what Anonymous is doing with its DDoS attacks.

The DDoS petition is seeking 25,000 signatures by February 6, but even if it manages to collect them - and it's still well short of the first thousand at this point - it will almost certainly be ignored by the U.S. government. Even so it's an interesting idea, wouldn't you say?

Source: The White House, via GamePolitics

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No. It is one thing to "peaceably assemble" but when you actively disrupt someone's place of business it becomes illegal.

This is not the same as an organised protest, this is like covering the entrance and exit to a car park of a business in such a manner that it prevents even the owner from accessing his store.

Wow, just, wow. Why not cut out the middlemen and just ask the U.S. Government to ban the Internet?

Anonymous, protecting the freedom of the internet by blocking one web site at a time

You remember how police dismantled the "Occupy" protests? Trying to say that DDoS is an online form of that is just not going to work!

Performing a DDoS attack is a way to cause damage to private property and just as the First Amendment does not give protestors the right to intrude on or destroy private property it also wouldn't allow an electronic form of destruction. If they want to protest they are more than welcome to build their own websites to spread their message as well as using forums, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.

The difference here is that they aren't occupying public spaces or free speech zones. What they're doing is more like gathering in a corporate HQ's lobby and blocking all of the doorways. They're essentially denying websites and their customers the ability to do business.

The analogy comparing DDoS attacks to people physically protesting an event is critically flawed. I suspect it probably would be legal for individual people to sit at their computers and physically hit the refresh button on their browsers in concert, just like it would be legal to physically boycott a business to scare off customers.

The critical difference, in my mind, is that I don't think that any DDoS attack has physical people clicking physical buttons in unison. Rather, the attack is just a snippet of code running on a bunch of (probably botnetted) computers, which is much more akin to a single individual stealing some cement from a bunch of people and using it to encase the place of business in concrete.

Yeah it's not peacable and it's not a very good way of expressing yourself. Whats more good tech can make you more effective, reducing the idea of a protest assembly

Service isn't the only thing about this story that's in denial :P

Anonymous are a load of self-centred children. They don't understand that attacking people you disagree with is entirely the wrong way to get what you want, and also utterly hypocritical.

I don't really see much difference between Anonymous and the Occupy bunch; they have the same ideals, the same politics, hate all the same groups, and both deserve to take a big, fat bite of sweet, sweet nightstick.

Isn't disruption of electronic communication is illegal, and most likely including websites in America?
Not to mention it could have negative economic effects on the sites owner/business/charity. Something they don't like to have happen.
Success chance: 0%

Also, people saying it's an attack on private property here, so yeh.

Bad plan, poor execution (Has the government actually acted on any of those petitions since they started that thing)? Mayhaps Anon may just continue business as usual, instead of trying to petition with their greatest enemy.

Captcha: meddling kids

Says the angry old American congressman.

Because the botnets DDoS use are made up of people that willingly gave their bandwidth. Right.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA, *snif* BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA

Ah, that is the stupidest thing I have heard. They think they have a prayer to get such an absurd law passed.

Whats next? Trying to make it legal to disrupt elections to sway election? Trying to make voter fraud legal? Sadly, some are trying to do these things to. At least they have no chance either.

Lucky Godzilla:
Anonymous, protecting the freedom of the internet by blocking one web site at a time

"Anonymous, protecting free speech, by denying others free speech"

I see what they are going for, but it's not the remotely same thing as the occupy movement or non violent public assembly. In those situations people are there with a point that they are stating to passers by. Making these legal doesn't make sense. I don't like Facebook, that doesn't mean I should be allowed to DDoS them to hell.

Gilhelmi:
BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA, *snif* BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHA

Ah, that is the stupidest thing I have heard. They think they have a prayer to get such an absurd law passed.

Whats next? Trying to make it legal to disrupt elections to sway election? Trying to make voter fraud legal? Sadly, some are trying to do these things to. At least they have no chance either.

Lucky Godzilla:
Anonymous, protecting the freedom of the internet by blocking one web site at a time

"Anonymous, protecting free speech, by denying others free speech"

Don't say it's the stupidest thing as I guarantee that there will be something even stupider later on.

OT: Yeah there is a difference between a peaceful protest and disrupting a business so that there is no way for them to do anything. This will never work and is a terrible idea.
As others have said "Anonymous, protecting your freedom of speech by denying it to other people."

Yeahhhh.....

not gonna fly

Tiger Sora:
Isn't disruption of electronic communication is illegal, and most likely including websites in America?
Not to mention it could have negative economic effects on the sites owner/business/charity. Something they don't like to have happen.
Success chance: 0%

Also, people saying it's an attack on private property here, so yeh.

Bad plan, poor execution (Has the government actually acted on any of those petitions since they started that thing)? Mayhaps Anon may just continue business as usual, instead of trying to petition with their greatest enemy.

Captcha: meddling kids

Says the angry old American congressman.

Yes they have been actually working on those petitions. They even talked about a petition asking the polititions to stop making political answers when answering the petitions, you know where you have no idea what they support or are trying ot get at.

OT: As everyone said its illegal for a reason.

Also they can't claim first amendment rights for this because, due to the fact that it is not public or government property they are protesting on, but private i business sites, which if its private business land you can't protest there anyways if they tel you to leave. Its fails even before it reaches the first hurdle.

I agree with what Anonymous 112%. Completely severing the ability to get onto a website is the same as standing the door of a business and stating you displeasure!

Nice try. But we all know that this isn't the same as standing on the pavement in front of a building with a megaphone and waving a placard; Abomination got it right in the first response, this is blocking off the building by chaining a dozen of you across the front door so nothing can move.

The biggest problem is that, as per usual, Anonymous has a point. How do you protest against something as intangible as a website? There's no equivalent to the pavement you can stand in front of; "internet retail as high street" suddenly discovers there's literally no such thing as a public space. Except maybe /b/.

There are so many problems with this from a legal stand-point only that I'm amazed this is even discussed. I'm no expert in legal law but at least I paid attention in my governance classes in college.

First of all, which I believe to be the most important, is the the Internet is not owned, ruled, or governed by the US government. Thank [insert higher power here] for that! The Internet, as it stands, is governed by no one which is what makes it so great and so prone to DDoS attacks. Therefore, even if the US government said, "yeah, this is totally protected!" it wouldn't be able to hold up in countries that care nothing for the First Amendment, like Iran or China. There's some international drama for you.

Second, when people protest peacefully, which is granted by a permit, they usually are not allowed to disrupt the normal lives of people not involved in the protest. Nor can they be violent or hurt businesses. A DDoS does both of these: it denies normal people not involved in the attack from accessing the site but it also hurts business in a very real way.

Third, protesting is, by definition of the First Amendment of the US, against the government and NOT the people. Unless they were only going to attack government websites that were non-defense/security related (good luck with that one!), then they would be protesting against the people and could not be covered by the "freedom to protest."

The whole thing is ridiculous. I like the idea of a force on the Internet fitting for freedom of the Internet, but Anonymous does not do this.

The First Amendment doesn't mention freedom to disrupt and block access to buildings, but thats just a by-product of a physical protest. This, however, doesn't apply at all to the internet. Makes no sense.

"With the advance in internet technology, comes new grounds for protesting. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), is not any form of hacking in any way. It is the equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage,"

"It's a silly idea with no hope of success, but it does actually have some grounding in legitimacy."

Both of these quotes are pretty cute. The Majority of DDOS attacks are fueled by botnets. Botnets are bunch of hacked machines that act on command to spam websites. Calling this not hacking or legitimate is laughable. Seems sometimes the editorial staff here is kinda on an Anonymous worship and forgives the crap they do to people's property too easily.

Blocking commerce on websites is also a form of economic terrorism. Legitimate my ass.

A DDoS attack is way different from traditional protests. If you are actively shutting out access to a website, whether own by a single person, a organization, or a company, you are denying them their first amendment rights by not permitting their views and opinions to be seen by others.

You can't claim projection under the first amendment when the sole purpose of a DDoS is to deny that right to other people.

Why would Anonymous care about something being legal or not? I'm just going to postulate a rule: Anytime The Escapist Magazine talks about Anonymous, they're wrong. Anonymous doesn't care if their actions are sanctioned by the government or not, they'd just do it, without wasting time on legal mumbo-jumbo.

That being said, DDoS attacks can't be compared to picketing because people can't just put a cardboard cutout of themselves on the picket-line and call it picketing.

Kinitawowi:
The biggest problem is that, as per usual, Anonymous has a point. How do you protest against something as intangible as a website? There's no equivalent to the pavement you can stand in front of; "internet retail as high street" suddenly discovers there's literally no such thing as a public space. Except maybe /b/.

This is literally why there is an Anonymous. There are no systems that can really be put into place that would allow for legitimate protesting online without stepping on the rights of others. That's why a person, or a group of people, goes off and vandalizes the internet without caring about personal rights.

So if they petition fails, will they DDoS some government website out of retaliation?

Yeah, First Amendment protects speech. It's protects the expression of ideas. DDoS have no actual message in the individual site hits. You might as well try to say that its not illegal to stab someone if you do so with a pen jabbed through a piece of paper that you are writing a pamphlet on. Whats going on it catagorigally different from, "Speech". The message comes from damaging something, which is not protected.

Wait a minute, I thought DDOS attacks were already legal. The Escapist (used to?) get(s) DDOS'd every Wednesday[1] because the servers couldn't handle the weekly Zero Punctuation traffic. It might sound disingenuous if you don't know how these things work, but that is quite literally a DDOS. It's just not being done intentionally.

You know what /is/ illegal, and rightly so? Using a botnet of hijacked computers to do your DDOS-ing for you. That's neither legal, nor cool.

Well, okay, it's kind of cool, but I was using it in the sense of "okay." :P

[1] I haven't noticed it happening in months, the servers may have finally been upgraded at some point last year

Hm. They kiiiiind of have a point. Sort of. Technically they're not doing anything they're not allowed to do, though they are doing it with malicious intent.
Either way I'm sick of anonymous.

The difference is that street protesters do not prevent access to facilities (it is illegal to do so, as far as I know) nor do they deface property in the progress of their protests (again, illegal, as far as I know). They only bring awareness to a particular issue. DDoS does prevent access, and altering the website of someone you have issues with is defacement of property. So, once again, I can not agree with Anonymous' stance on anything and find their arguments to be nothing more than the product of a delusional, immature mind. They just simply want to do whatever they want to whomever they want, whenever they want, and in whatever manner they choose. They do not speak for the people because they take no input from the people. They do not fight for freedom because they limit freedom for others. They will never, ever gain my sympathies, empathy, or support in any way. I know they don't care about that, but that just proves my point that they are not for the people; they are just for themselves.

Abomination:

It's a silly idea with no hope of success, but it does actually have some grounding in legitimacy. The First Amendment declares, among other things, that Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances," which according to the Illinois First Amendment Center expressly provides the right of the public "to march, protest, demonstrate, carry signs and otherwise express their views in a nonviolent way." That, the petition contends, is exactly what Anonymous is doing with its DDoS attacks.

Original author, you are wrong. Protesting a business peacefully is okay, but the moment you chain yourself to the door and prevent people from entering said business it becomes something illegal that you can get arrested for. Instead, you can peacefully stand on the sidewalk, with picket signs. What Anonymous is doing is essentially chaining themselves to the doors and preventing people from entering the business, which is illegal. Please know the difference in these things prior to making an article with clearly biased tones.

I think its a bit different when yure keeping someone from viewing a website (and its not fair to expect everyone to know any "common" or "simple" backdoors to get around it). Even occupy movemen.ts cangt actively block a door and say no you can't go in there.

Deathfish15:

Abomination:

It's a silly idea with no hope of success, but it does actually have some grounding in legitimacy. The First Amendment declares, among other things, that Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances," which according to the Illinois First Amendment Center expressly provides the right of the public "to march, protest, demonstrate, carry signs and otherwise express their views in a nonviolent way." That, the petition contends, is exactly what Anonymous is doing with its DDoS attacks.

Original author, you are wrong. Protesting a business peacefully is okay, but the moment you chain yourself to the door and prevent people from entering said business it becomes something illegal that you can get arrested for. Instead, you can peacefully stand on the sidewalk, with picket signs. What Anonymous is doing is essentially chaining themselves to the doors and preventing people from entering the business, which is illegal. Please know the difference in these things prior to making an article with clearly biased tones.

Just a random thing here... I'm not the OP. Wondering why I was quoted as the author.

On another note, picketing isn't exactly possible on the internet short of bombarding a 'shout box' or facebook/twitter account of a company with your greviences. A location that is visited by the public that public opinion can be seen on that represents the company in question. Creating a web page to protest a company won't be seen by those you're hoping on informing - the customers of the company... because not all will know about or go to your webpage.

I am not excusing Anon, but from a protesting perspective they do not always have a legal alternative. But that being the case that means they should not protest in that manner. They could, you know, get those Guy Fawkes masks - as has been strongly associated with their symbol - and protest the traditional way.

If it's worth protesting over, it's worth protesting in person.

DDoS attacks can cause real damage. It won't be legalized for the same reasons (albeit smaller scale) that setting cars on fire won't be recognized as a form of legal protest.

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