[hackerspaces] revspace and randomdata in the news re wikileaks ddos story

Yves Quemener quemener.yves at free.fr
Fri Dec 10 21:49:08 CET 2010

On 12/10/2010 08:45 PM, Matt Joyce wrote:
> Voluntary participation in a ddos is illegal.

So what ? History is full of ethical actions that were illegal.

Also it would be nice that this kind of statement be in the form "X is
illegal in country Y", especially on such an international mailing list.
Intrusion into a computer to make it a zombie is illegal in most countries
but voluntarily flooding a website through a channel on which it is
offering services is a gray zone in some countries. Probably not in US, I
know it used to be in UK before 2005 and I know it is now illegal in
France. Actually in some place, the law is so poorly worded that putting a
link on slashdot could be considered an attack.

> Additionally, as pointed out elsewhere, the ddoses imposed by anonymous
> served the specific purpose of censorship.

I don't really believe this statement. What kind of information did
anonymous want to censor ? It was not an attempt at censorship. It was a
protest. It is like shouting in front of Visa's headquarters. A mere
annoyance for them, but a theme for journalists to talk about and a way to
make a point. I doubt a single participant in the attacks believed they
could prevent mastercard, paypal or amazon from making a public statement
(which is what censorship is about)

> Also, what gives anyone the right to commit themselves to a pursuit that
> harms others?  A personal question no doubt, but one worth mulling over
> from time to time.

Notwithstanding the fact that no one was harmed in these attacks (that were
retaliation to a real financial harm done to wikileaks) I would say that
self-defense gives this right. Actually it is a legal principle in a lot of

> Gmc wrote an interesting response to the recent arrest of a dutch teenager
> in association with anonymous ddosing.  This is an opportunity for
> hackerspaces to reach out to folks and engage them is discussions on what
> ethical hacking is or isn't.  As well as an opportunity to channel peoples
> frustrations into the constructive rather than destructive.

And this is great. I myself like giving constructive opportunities, to use
democratic processes even if I feel they are a bit cobbled these days. I
have no problem saying that anonymous DoSers of mastercard shouldn't be
called hackers. I just have a problem about calling them unethical.


> On Dec 10, 2010 11:18 AM, "Yves Quemener" <quemener.yves at free.fr
> <mailto:quemener.yves at free.fr>> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> You mention DDoS in the present case but from what I understood, I
>> thought that these attacks were carried more by a big number of people
>> voluntarily giving their bandwidth through applications like L.O.I.C
>> rather than through an illegal botnet. Wasn't that the case ?
>> WARNING : possibly trollish material ahead. But it has been long since
>> the last one on this list, hasn't it ?
>> If so, I have a very hard time calling the "Avenge Assange" operation
>> unethical. I know that DoS are usually consider like a lowly technical
>> act, like some act of random and stupid vandalism.
>> However, consider a physical world protest : it blocks streets, it
>> causes problems, sometimes injuries, it is not a democratic process.
>> However, if tomorrow there was a protest blocking the streets of your
>> city to support Assange would you consider it unethical ?
>> Consider also what mastercard, paypal and amazon did to Wikileaks : it
>> is a plain "denial of service" in its first meaning. They denied their
>> services in the hope of censuring wikileaks out of the net. I understand
>> that responding with DoS attacks is not the ideal way of making
>> ourselves heard, but I unfortunately see no better one, especially when
>> you see the media coverage that was given to these. And in that specific
>> case, I find it very hard to call them unfair.
>> Technically not-impressive ? Indeed. Not hackerish ? Arguably not
>> (though the fact that it might be legal to do that the way they do in
>> some countries is worth some cred). Unethical ? I disagree completely.
>> Iv
>>> Hi All,
>>> Just thought i'd share this with you people:
>>> http://bit.ly/dlufWO
>>> it's a google translation of a dutch article on ict news website
>>> 'webwereld' ('webworld').
>>> It turned out the arrested young man who was involved with the
>>> ddos campaign against mastercard and paypal was someone we have
>>> seen in our space a few times, and who hung out on our irc channel.
>>> We see this as an opportunity to bring a positive story about hackers,
>>> and plan on organising a workshop/discussion around 'ethical hacking'.
>>> We will invite press there. We expect to announce all this on
>>> monday.
>>> Gr,
>>> Koen
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Discuss mailing list
>>> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org <mailto:Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org>
>>> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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