Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

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Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby bentheimmigrant » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:37 pm UTC

Anonymous staged a DoS attack on the Americans for Prosperity website, and has called for an international boycott of all products made by Koch industries. From the Anon press release it appears that this is only the beginning of their planned attacks. It should be interesting to see what they go after next. Unfortunately, it seems that the AfP president used pretty calm words in his response, and didn't do the whole lashing-out thing that serves to escalate these situations. Although I'm hesitant to support potentially illegal activity, it seems my morals aren't as consistent as they should be when it comes to super-rich American conservatives. Sorry.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Thesh » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:17 am UTC

Anonymous is probably doing more harm than good, IMO. I find it ironic that an organization that is supposedly for as much freedom as possible uses censorship as their only means of getting their belief across.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Killamus » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:42 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Anonymous is probably doing more harm than good, IMO. I find it ironic that an organization that is supposedly for as much freedom as possible uses censorship as their only means of getting their belief across.

These attacks aren't about censorship; they're the best way to get the point across. And, perhaps, the only way.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:44 am UTC

No, it is not the only way. Anonymous press releases gain enough attention without the addition of illegal activities.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Killamus » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:49 am UTC

But, without the illegal activities, the press releases would be meaningless. It'd be exactly like me releasing a press release. Who'd listen?

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby omgryebread » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:49 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:No, it is not the only way. Anonymous press releases gain enough attention without the addition of illegal activities.
Anonymous press releases get attention mostly because of illegal activities. No one really cares what a bunch of 16-22 year old white guys on the internet who like drawings of chicks with dicks and pictures of cats think. But a bunch of white guys (with the aforementioned futas and felines) who take down high profile websites? That's news. ish.


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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:58 am UTC

Gee, I wonder how news organizations make news without resorting to illegal activities...
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Thesh » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:15 am UTC

omgryebread wrote:No one really cares what a bunch of 16-22 year old white guys on the internet who like drawings of chicks with dicks and pictures of cats think.


Even if they are making news, I still don't care about what Anonymous thinks.

Killamus wrote:These attacks aren't about censorship; they're the best way to get the point across. And, perhaps, the only way.


What the are about doesn't matter, they are bringing down websites they don't agree with via DDoS attacks and replacing the content with their own message. That is, by definition, censorship.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby omgryebread » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:26 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Even if they are making news, I still don't care about what Anonymous thinks.
That's probably a good thing, but I doubt they're too worried they lost you.


What the are about doesn't matter, they are bringing down websites they don't agree with via DDoS attacks and replacing the content with their own message. That is, by definition, censorship.
Wikipedia and Merriam Webster both have censorship as by definition, by an official. I agree that it's hypocritical to silence people you accuse of silencing people, but it's not really censorship.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby rath358 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:58 am UTC

I would also argue that a DDoS isn't really silencing the opposition in a significant manner, rather, it is defacing the Koch Brother's public image in a manner that resembles vandalism more than anything else. Calling it censorship is misleading and inflammatory.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:02 am UTC

Their message reads like Marxist propaganda. "the downtrodden citizen", etc.
But cool, even if I disagree with this take down, I still like the idea that Anonymous is generally fighting for the people.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:11 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Their message reads like Marxist propaganda. "the downtrodden citizen", etc.
But cool, even if I disagree with this take down, I still like the idea that Anonymous is generally fighting for the people.


How was trolling the Epilepsy Foundation and Raiding Hobo and Tumbler "Fighting for the People" ??? While Anonymous didn't exist at the time, I'm 100% certain that "An Hero" is the prototype for Anonymous as well. (MySpace Hacking and massive trolling)

The only constant on Anonymous is the lulz. And my sense of humor unfortunately conflicts with their sense of humor. Then again, not even the group members are a constant with Anonymous: they're not a real group and it is kinda wrong to attribute the good deeds and the horrific deeds to the same group.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:18 am UTC

rath358 wrote:I would also argue that a DDoS isn't really silencing the opposition in a significant manner, rather, it is defacing the Koch Brother's public image in a manner that resembles vandalism more than anything else. Calling it censorship is misleading and inflammatory.
Yeah, 'vandalism' seems like a better, more precise description of what's going on here--this is very comparable to me going to your business or community center and defacing your signs, stealing your pamphlets, spreading disinformation about where you're going to have next week's meetings, etc--it's more an attempt to disrupt your operations than an attempt to censor your message.
KnightExemplar wrote:The only constant on Anonymous is the lulz. And my sense of humor unfortunately conflicts with their sense of humor. Then again, not even the group members are a constant with Anonymous: they're not a real group and it is kinda wrong to attribute the good deeds and the horrific deeds to the same group.
Yeah, when Anonymous does the 'right thing', I think of it more as coincidence than a reflection of their innate morality. And I'm not sure vandalizing someone's website is describable as 'the right thing'.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby mmmcannibalism » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:23 am UTC

Yeah, 'vandalism' seems like a better, more precise description of what's going on here--this is very comparable to me going to your business or community center and defacing your signs, stealing your pamphlets, spreading disinformation about where you're going to have next week's meetings, etc--it's more an attempt to disrupt your operations than an attempt to censor your message.


(I'm assuming we're accepting the notion that censorship can also be things like destroying a printing press even if government isn't involved.)

Taking down someone's website illegally is censorship, its just of a small magnitude compared to say shooting someone if you disagree with them.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:38 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:How was trolling the Epilepsy Foundation and Raiding Hobo and Tumbler "Fighting for the People" ??? While Anonymous didn't exist at the time, I'm 100% certain that "An Hero" is the prototype for Anonymous as well. (MySpace Hacking and massive trolling).


The Habbo raids were about racism, I hear.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby savanik » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:45 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:The only constant on Anonymous is the lulz. And my sense of humor unfortunately conflicts with their sense of humor. Then again, not even the group members are a constant with Anonymous: they're not a real group and it is kinda wrong to attribute the good deeds and the horrific deeds to the same group.


Precisely. We are all Anonymous to some degree or another. And if you want to see Anonymous do some good, all you need to do is to become Anonymous and do some good. That's how Anonymous works.

The idea of even calling them a group still amuses me.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Telchar » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:53 am UTC

Group-A number of individuals assembled together or having some unifying relationship

Yeah, it's hysterical!
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Triangle_Man » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:01 am UTC

I always took them to be a chaotic neutral collection of individuals who exist to pull stunts for the lulz/whatever cause they feel like that week.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Vaniver » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:51 am UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:Sorry.
You should be.

bentheimmigrant wrote:For some inexplicable reason I feel compelled to point out that Koch is allegedly pronounced "Coke".
That is the correct pronunciation.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby folkhero » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:15 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Yeah, when Anonymous does the 'right thing', I think of it more as coincidence than a reflection of their innate morality. And I'm not sure vandalizing someone's website is describable as 'the right thing'.

A fun tip for when someone you're talking to IRL thinks the vandalism is the right thing: pull a Sharpie out of your pocket and ask to borrow their laptop.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:21 am UTC

More like take their laptop away from them for about a day, explaining that it is in response to their behavior which you find reprehensible.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Marbas » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:47 am UTC

Precisely. We are all Anonymous to some degree or another. And if you want to see Anonymous do some good, all you need to do is to become Anonymous and do some good. That's how Anonymous works.



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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Vash » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:25 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:More like take their laptop away from them for about a day, explaining that it is in response to their behavior which you find reprehensible.


That's not accurate, though. A website displays information or may provide some exchange of goods, something along those lines. A laptop is a different thing with other uses.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Rodion Raskolnikov » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:41 pm UTC

I could be totally wrong, but it seems the Anonymous attacks are becoming more organised. I think there's probably a small core group of hacktivists who mostly run the show on IRC. Some anon attacks will be done by others and there will be different fringe members taking part depending on what they attack. But it doesn't seem like a completly disparate group of people that changes everytime they do something.
Of course, one of Anon's biggest strenghs has been the fact it was the perception it was a constantly changing group and anyone could be involved. If it becomes an organised group, I imagine it would make it easier for 'authorities' to stop/catch them.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:22 pm UTC

Vash wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:More like take their laptop away from them for about a day, explaining that it is in response to their behavior which you find reprehensible.


That's not accurate, though. A website displays information or may provide some exchange of goods, something along those lines. A laptop is a different thing with other uses.


And if you run an online business and only have the one laptop? My point was more that DDoS attacks are ephemerally damaging, whereas physical vandalism requires active repairs, such as repainting walls.

Having not been involved in Anonymous campaigns, I can't comment on the amount of Anonymous recidivists. I'd be unsurprised if there were a fair number of people involved in almost every coordinated attack, but the structure seems to make that irrelevant. Remove the current leaders and new leaders will pop up. I've seen instructional images circulating on /b/ as a way to circumvent the need to maintain the same talented individuals.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Vash » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:05 am UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:
Vash wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:More like take their laptop away from them for about a day, explaining that it is in response to their behavior which you find reprehensible.


That's not accurate, though. A website displays information or may provide some exchange of goods, something along those lines. A laptop is a different thing with other uses.


And if you run an online business and only have the one laptop? My point was more that DDoS attacks are ephemerally damaging, whereas physical vandalism requires active repairs, such as repainting walls.


It's still different. A public information/purchasing site is different from a computer with private information and business information. The biggest similarity I can come up with is business done through e-mail, IM, or other, similar means.

Well, DDoS attacks do require paying people to fix the servers, the webpage, do PR, and may cost in terms of changed business strategy (scrapping plans can be expensive, or mean the money is wasted). The webpage does come back up, though. The downtime is also certainly far more ephemeral. There are also sales lost from the day (Amazon is $54.3 million a day, for example. I can imagine that MC and Visa may be even more). One day is a drop in the bucket, relatively, though.

What DDoS does do is get the media to play it up, and instill fear. Perhaps I have overestimated the actual damage of DDoS, though. Your point is essentially valid.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby torgos » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:38 am UTC

Vash wrote:. There are also sales lost from the day (Amazon is $54.3 million a day, for example.


How could Amazon lose that much? Wouldn't most people just defer purchases until the site is back up?
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby dedwrekka » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:19 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Gee, I wonder how news organizations make news without resorting to illegal activities...

Millions of dollars, product placement, and catering to extreme points of view to be the most eye-catching.

folkhero wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:Yeah, when Anonymous does the 'right thing', I think of it more as coincidence than a reflection of their innate morality. And I'm not sure vandalizing someone's website is describable as 'the right thing'.

A fun tip for when someone you're talking to IRL thinks the vandalism is the right thing: pull a Sharpie out of your pocket and ask to borrow their laptop.

Which would be potentially damaging something to where it wouldn't be able to attain the state it was in before the vandalism. DDOS or vandalism of a website is like saving someone's word document, then rewriting it. They can always go back to the previous state it was in without any real problems.

If we're claiming a DDOS attack as vandalism because it potentially removes revenue, then an organized sit in or protest outside the door of a business is also vandalism? A DDOS is more or less an organized internet sit-in that simply leaves no room for a customer to enter.

torgos wrote:
Vash wrote:. There are also sales lost from the day (Amazon is $54.3 million a day, for example.


How could Amazon lose that much? Wouldn't most people just defer purchases until the site is back up?

It's an estimate not necessarily based in real figures beyond their average daily profit. It could have been more or less, but if someone is going to Amazon to get it, chances are that they aren't just going to go to another store to get it as it would be for a physical location.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:24 am UTC

Spoiler:
dedwrekka wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Gee, I wonder how news organizations make news without resorting to illegal activities...

Millions of dollars, product placement, and catering to extreme points of view to be the most eye-catching.

folkhero wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:Yeah, when Anonymous does the 'right thing', I think of it more as coincidence than a reflection of their innate morality. And I'm not sure vandalizing someone's website is describable as 'the right thing'.

A fun tip for when someone you're talking to IRL thinks the vandalism is the right thing: pull a Sharpie out of your pocket and ask to borrow their laptop.

Which would be potentially damaging something to where it wouldn't be able to attain the state it was in before the vandalism. DDOS or vandalism of a website is like saving someone's word document, then rewriting it. They can always go back to the previous state it was in without any real problems.

If we're claiming a DDOS attack as vandalism because it potentially removes revenue, then an organized sit in or protest outside the door of a business is also vandalism? A DDOS is more or less an organized internet sit-in that simply leaves no room for a customer to enter.


I'm not sure vandalism remains the right word, but it should be illegal to prevent a business from operating*. Is it legal for me to take your car for a day as long as I don't damage it in any way?

*which includes sit ins but excludes protesting nearby; and of course.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:47 am UTC

dedwrekka wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Gee, I wonder how news organizations make news without resorting to illegal activities...

Millions of dollars, product placement, and catering to extreme points of view to be the most eye-catching.


Okay, scratch that. I wonder how say, Egyptian Protesters made the news and gained public support without resorting to destruction of property.

Same point as before. There are better ways to protest against an organization than DDOSing websites, ways that actually gain the public support and makes a difference. All Anonymous has done so far is bring up the issue of CyberTerrorism to the forefront of the media. (ie: if a bunch of kids can do this, then what can our enemies do?) I'd even argue that they're hurting Wikileak's image. Why are hackers defending this website?
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby nitePhyyre » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:33 am UTC

re: What to call Anonymous attacks

It is a protest. This is what you do when a company/person/entity of some sort does something deplorable, I can get as many people as I can to go in front of their store. The mass of people can yell and hold up signs. If there are so many people that it takes shoppers an hour to wade through the crowd to get to the front door, is this censorship? Vandalism? No.

Now let's say we do it on the internet instead. I get as many people as I can, to go in front of the website. The mas of people pings and holds up signs. If there are so many people that shoppers have to keep making page requests for an hour to finally get through the traffic, how is that any different?

This is democracy in action.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby omgryebread » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:10 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:re: What to call Anonymous attacks

It is a protest. This is what you do when a company/person/entity of some sort does something deplorable, I can get as many people as I can to go in front of their store. The mass of people can yell and hold up signs. If there are so many people that it takes shoppers an hour to wade through the crowd to get to the front door, is this censorship? Vandalism? No.

Now let's say we do it on the internet instead. I get as many people as I can, to go in front of the website. The mas of people pings and holds up signs. If there are so many people that shoppers have to keep making page requests for an hour to finally get through the traffic, how is that any different?

This is democracy in action.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:21 am UTC

I think all these analogies are muddling.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:35 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:re: What to call Anonymous attacks

It is a protest. This is what you do when a company/person/entity of some sort does something deplorable, I can get as many people as I can to go in front of their store. The mass of people can yell and hold up signs. If there are so many people that it takes shoppers an hour to wade through the crowd to get to the front door, is this censorship? Vandalism? No.


Thats called Disruptive Picketing and I doubt that its legal. In fact, not all forms of picketing are legal (ie: Funaral Picketing within ~100 meters of a funeral. Thanks to the WBC. You're also not allowed to picket Legal decisions by Judges). In fact, in many jurisdictions, you're only allowed to organize a mass protest if you have filed a protest license. This is for safety issues (the police will be there to help direct traffic and so forth, so its beneficial to your protest). Also, you need to get port-a-potties and other logistical issues.

You're allowed to hold up signs and yell at the storefront and dissuade people from entering the shop. But as soon as you've physically hampered business, you've crossed the line. Peaceful protest doesn't cause damage, you're there to tell the world that you disagree with the business practices.

So either way, physically preventing business or virtually (DDOS vs Disruptive Picketing), its wrong. Organizing Boycotts, sure, you're gold.

EDIT: It appears that this varies from county to county. So, here's a specific Ordinance to prove my point. Indio, CA
§ 130.112 NUMBER OF PICKETS ALLOWABLE.

So many pickets may be used at each individual place of business in the city which is being picketed which does not impair free ingress and egress to each entrance or exit to any building in which the picketed business is being conducted.


So at least in Indio, California, it is explicitly illegal to protest in the manner you described. And if you really wanted to disrupt a business, then why don't you look up what the word "Peaceful" means (as in, peaceful protest) before you go out and try to sabatoge operations.

EDIT2: Here's another one from Fairmont, NC
(D) Whenever the free passage of any street or sidewalk in the town shall be obstructed by a crowd, the persons composing the crowd shall disperse or move on when directed to do so by a police officer. It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to so disperse or move on when so directed by a police officer.


Anyway, here's the site that I'm using: http://www.amlegal.com/library/

At very least, disruptive picketing is frowned upon, and in many counties, it is straight up illegal.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby Jahoclave » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:37 am UTC

Besides, there kind of is a difference between a picket, protest, riot, and revolution.

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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby bentheimmigrant » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:47 am UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:I think all these analogies are muddling.

And kind of pointless... "Hey, we have an actual, real life situation. Let's come up with as many badly paralleled, irrelevant hypothetical situations as we can, and see if we can never discuss the actual topic."

Anonymous taking down a website is like Anonymous taking down a website. What are the actual consequences? The website was unavailable for about a day. They did not replace it with a message, so it's nothing like vandalising something to make it say something else. It's more like making a website unavailable for a day. What effect does this actually have on AfP? They're not a web based business, so what does this have to do with Amazon? This is entirely in the political sphere, so what are the moral/legal implications of taking down a political website?

Personally, I support Anonymous in their attacks on Westboro, especially because the church provoked them. I find this case amusing, and care little about it on a moral level because it didn't mess with anyone's lives/livelihoods. However, what other tools do people have to combat the messaging of the Koch brothers? How can the astroturfing they do actually be exposed?
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:03 pm UTC

If you want to stick with the plain old argument "Its like DDOSing a website", then its very straightforward.

Its illegal.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/us ... -000-.html
Whoever willfully or maliciously injures or destroys any of the works, property, or material of any radio, telegraph, telephone or cable, line, station, or system, or other means of communication, operated or controlled by the United States, or used or intended to be used for military or civil defense functions of the United States, whether constructed or in process of construction, or willfully or maliciously interferes in any way with the working or use of any such line, or system, or willfully or maliciously obstructs, hinders, or delays the transmission of any communication over any such line, or system, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.


Thats why I figured everyone was sticking with analogies... if you look at it from a straightforward point of view, the precident is there and its not allowed.

The forms of protest which are allowed and which are not allowed have been noted in US Law. Not all forms of protest are legal (ie: Riots and Violent Revolutions are illegal). This is not against the First Ammendment, because its the Government's job to protect us from violent and damaging acts. Based on the current law, a DDOS is considered a damaging act (or more specifically, the "willful or malicious ... delay of a transmission of any communication")

EDIT: I'm not a Lawyer. Figured that I needed to put this in here somewhere. So someone with legal knowledge correct me if I'm wrong. Rereading it... I'm not 100% sure if the above only applies to government communications.

EDIT2: Maybe this one has more to do with DDoS Attacks:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1030.html

(8) the term “damage” means any impairment to the integrity or availability of data, a program, a system, or information;


So a DDoS is "damage", and the various listed actions that cause damage are punishable by law.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby nitePhyyre » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:39 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
dedwrekka wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Gee, I wonder how news organizations make news without resorting to illegal activities...

Millions of dollars, product placement, and catering to extreme points of view to be the most eye-catching.


Okay, scratch that. I wonder how say, Egyptian Protesters made the news and gained public support without resorting to destruction of property.

By getting so many people to protest that it shut down the city and the country.
Just like anonymous gets so many people to visit a website that it shuts down.

Oh, and protip: illegal != immoral
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:49 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:By getting so many people to protest that it shut down the city and the country.
Just like anonymous gets so many people to visit a website that it shuts down.

Oh, and protip: illegal != immoral


Well, certainly. I think we both can agree that the Egyptian Protests were illegal, but we both can agree that they were moral. In retrospect, it was also a poor example.

Here's my issue. A private group protesting another private group in such a way to disrupt the well-being or business. IE: Anonymous DDoSing Amazon for instance will definitely cause lost sales. Anonymous DDoSing other sites may cause smaller damages. And while this damage is temporary, it is still malicious and a dangerous precident.

IMO, under no circumstances should a group assemble for purely malicious purposes. Peaceful ways of protest have been documented, and are proven effective. There is no reason to cause damage, however temporary it is, to companies or individuals, to prove your point.
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Re: Anonymous vs. The Koch Bros

Postby legopelle » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:09 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:Oh, and protip: illegal != immoral

Thank you.
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