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

Yves Quemener quemener.yves at free.fr
Fri Dec 10 22:59:42 CET 2010

On 12/10/2010 10:20 PM, Koen Martens wrote:
> So that's distributed, and it's denial of service. So yes, that is
> DDoS, isn't it? :)

fair enough :-) So in this case, it is really an individual flooding, not a
use of botnets ?

> I would not like it when people block the streets in support to Assange,

Well, maybe protests are more of a French habit then :)

> There are way better actions one could take. I liken ddos to slapping
> someone in the face because you've run out of arguments. Sure, you'll
> make the news, but will it help your cause?

I actually think that it will make companies think twice before obeying US
orders. It says that following this kind of orders has a price. Big
companies like Amazon or Visa can easily sustain the charge, but a small
company will think twice and balance the cost of disobeying an illegal
order from US and having a 5-days downtime. So yes, definitely helping.

Also, paypal decided to unfreeze Wikileaks' accounts. It may be a
coincidence, but it could due to the DDoS, or more probably, to the media
backlash that the DDoS helped building.

> Besides that, it is breaking
> the law (at least in .nl, which is the relevant country in this case
> I guess). Breaking the law perse is not something I would never
> ever do.

Well I hope you are ready to scrap your free software the day we have
European patent laws as silly as the US has. Anyway I am not calling for
civil disobedience. I am just pointing out that these illegal actions may
be ethical, may be something that is worth supporting.

> I see that sometimes civil disobedience is needed to change
> things or make a point. But it should always be a last resort. We
> are far from having to fall into last resort lashing out imho.

They are trying to illegally censor a journalism website. If they manage to
do that, to get the kind of power necessary to censor globally a journalist
on internet, how do you expect to know when the "last resort point" will be
there ?

> It
> also doesn't really help wikileaks' case imho. So it perpetuates the
> stereotype of hackers being crooks, and it doesn't even help in any
> way.

Maybe I am reading only leftist news source but it is hard to find a source
that is hostile to these attacks and almost impossible to find one that
consider these attacks made wikileaks more questionable.

> By the way, I think it is odd that the ddos-ers of mastercard are
> persecuted, but those of wikileaks are not. 

That is a denial of justice. I find it very serious.

> I guess you don't mind
> wikileaks being brought down by someone who didn't want their
> voice to be heard, and see that as a legitimate protest? I don't,
> not in that case and not in this case.

It might seem like a childish justification but "they did it first" is
actually a good argument.
Also, there is a asymmetry : mastercard and paypal had few problems
following these protests. A mere annoyance. Wikileaks core functioning was
threatened by losing bank accounts and hosting. I wonder how many companies
would be able to sustain such a thing with as much sturdiness than
wikileaks did. A mere annoyance to retort to a flesh wound, that is what we
are talking about.

> Breaking stuff is just not
> a good way to make your case in general.

Actually it is an incredibly effective method.
But "good" in the "ethically good" meaning ? I agree. But this is not the
general case we are currently talking about. Attackers of wikileaks play
outside the rules, as they reportedly threatened to do. We are not in the
general case anymore.

> I never said it was unethical btw. But there is something seriously
> wrong with the ethics op Anonymous imho. 

Oh yeah. It isn't hard to find something wrong in the ethics of the
spiritual child of Adolf Hitler and Pedobear. I am not talking about the
ethics of anonymous (which is arguably not really a coherent group). I am
discussing the ethics of a single operation, "Avenge Assange".

> Mind you, his arrest has been extended with 13 days. I don't think
> that is reasonable at all.

Which I agree. But tell me, How do we get the media to say that ? I think
like you do that DDoS are not really worth mentioning

> I'm sure politics is involed. At least, they're probably afraid the
> us will not see them as being forceful enough in fighting against
> these 'cyber terrorists'. I think it's unethical to fight political
> wars over the backs of teenagers, but that is a whole other
> issue.

Is it ?


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