Share/E-mail This Story

Email This



Overreacting To Anonymous Is A Greater Threat To Freedom, Innovation & Creativity Than Any Of Their Attacks

from the preach-it dept

We've noted the disturbing trend by the press and politicians to totally overreact or to pump up the actual impact and/or threat of various Anonymous hacking attacks. We've also noted multiple times that such attacks can be incredibly counterproductive -- and the press and politician backlash is part of what we're talking about. However, there is a real risk in continuing to overreact to Anonymous. The most extreme example, of course, was NSA boss General Keith Alexander insisting that Anonymous might hack power grids... while also noting that it had no actual ability to do so.

Yochai Benkler has a typically brilliant essay in Foreign Affair magazine explaining why overreacting to and misunderstanding Anonymous is ridiculous and dangerous:
Seeing Anonymous primarily as a cybersecurity threat is like analyzing the breadth of the antiwar movement and 1960s counterculture by focusing only on the Weathermen. Anonymous is not an organization. It is an idea, a zeitgeist, coupled with a set of social and technical practices. Diffuse and leaderless, its driving force is “lulz” -- irreverence, playfulness, and spectacle. It is also a protest movement, inspiring action both on and off the Internet, that seeks to contest the abuse of power by governments and corporations and promote transparency in politics and business. Just as the antiwar movement had its bomb-throwing radicals, online hacktivists organizing under the banner of Anonymous sometimes cross the boundaries of legitimate protest. But a fearful overreaction to Anonymous poses a greater threat to freedom of expression, creativity, and innovation than any threat posed by the disruptions themselves.
Benkler argues that if you look at Anonymous' actions in the "context of protest," you begin to realize that what they're doing is much more about political speech than any sort of "security" risk or terrorist threat. After detailing a bunch of hacks -- where they all had political messages of sort attached to them, Benkler notes:
The political nature of these targets demonstrates why it is patently wrong to see Anonymous purely as a cyberthreat. Opinions about the justifiability of any given attack may differ, either because of the target or because of its form. The main challenge becomes one of deciding who gets to set the boundaries of legitimate protest. If one unquestioningly accepts the validity of all U.S. government decisions, as well as the current distribution of power in the private sector, the pattern of Anonymous’ attacks seems unambiguously dangerous. But surely there must be a place for civil disobedience and protest that is sufficiently disruptive to rouse people from complacence. Viewing Anonymous purely as a matter of crime reduction or national security will lead governments to suppress it and ignore any countervailing considerations. A more appropriate, balanced response to Anonymous’ attacks would err on the side of absorbing damage and making the hacks’ targets resilient, rather than aggressively surveilling and prosecuting the network and its participants.
He notes that some of Anonymous' attacks appear to go over the line from protest to something more problematic, but most of them really are just forms of traditional protest. But the overreaction threatens to hinder all sorts of online protests and speech, which is a very dangerous precedent to set. Hopefully those insisting that Anonymous is pure evil can take the time to read Benkler's full article and reconsider their views.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    You cannot evict an idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    Anonymous is 'a protest movement, inspiring action both on and off the Internet, that seeks to contest the abuse of power by governments and corporations and promote transparency in politics and business'.

    and that ie exactly why the governments and law enforcement agencies spend so much time and money going after them. if the absolute truth were to come out about exactly how much influence industry has on government and law enforcement and exactly how much disregard industry, government and law enforcement have for the law, justice, the truth and the people, we wouldn't know which way to turn!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    And that's the plan. The status quo does not want us innovating or being creative. They want us to buy what they sell and be entertained by what they sell/rent to us in a format they're willing to use. They don't like us reading Reddit instead of watching prime time TV and they don't like the idea of some new upstart innovating the next big disruption.

    If I were conspiracy minded at all I'd think that Anonymous is merely a ruse perpetrated by various governments to give them an excuse to eliminate a free internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Power disparity

    History has shown over and over that the government's use (abuse) of power (violence) over its citizens is a far greater threat to liberty than any crazy person or group.

    The power disparity here is all you need to know:

    Anonymous - can knock down or deface websites for a few hours
    US Government - can shut down and seize entire legitimate domains with no oversight for over a year

    Anonymous - can make funny pictures with photoshop with a meme that have a half life of a week or two online
    US Government - can make false statements to the worldwide press that are rarely challenged or adequately fact checked, and usually taken as true by >50% of the US population

    Anonymous - has an army of mostly young men who are good with computers that might number 100,000 if you count everyone who's been involved or visited 4chan, ever
    US Government - has an army of mostly young men highly trained and armed with the some of the best weapons ever made that will exercise deadly force on command that numbers in at 1.5 million active duty and 1.5 million reserve

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    lexieliberty (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    The box is opened.

    You can't put the genie back in the bottle. You can try with all your might and it still wont' work. It's too late destroy because you destroying it makes the our realization stronger. Bitches be havin fits!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    lexieliberty (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Re: The box is opened.

    oh my god i have problems spelling while at work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    Perhaps you might have mentioned that:

    "Benkler appeared in the documentary film Steal This Film, which is available through Creative Commons. He discussed various issues, including: how the changing cost structures in film and music production are enabling new stratums of society to create.[8]
    Benkler is a strong proponent of Wikileaks, characterizing it as a prime example of non-traditional media filling a public watchdog role left vacant by traditional news outlets"

    (from Wikipedia).

    Basically, he is a professor, but a strong supporter of the freetard movement. I don't see him as a particularly impartial viewer of anonymous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    CHRoNoSS, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    @3

    the prob is there is the usa is so anti civil rights my bet , loyalty is not quite what it used to be...thats why they keep needing enemies

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:01am

    Protests are sometimes the only recourse for those who see that they are powerless in the face of an untenable position.

    I can see why Anonymous would feel powerless and take to protest. And I can see why most people will not do so.

    As part of the anti-war protests, I also saw that the "Establishment" would use whatever the protesters did to discredit the movement, distorting actual events, and lying about them. Protests had some effect, but they also created a backlash. Deal with it. We even acknowledged this in a roundabout way back then. We sometimes called protests "street theater". It was not real, it was symbolic.

    What would be really powerful is if more people would change their behavior based on perceived injustice. (It is really hard to write this without using the word EVIL.) What if everyone quit buying anything from Sony, even if it was my favorite blues guitar player? What if everybody quit buying from publishers that didn't respect fair use? What if everyone quit buying from companies who created a "walled garden" around their devices, even if it was cool? What if everyone decided to use software licenses that fostered a community ethic, and contributed time, talent or treasure to support it? What if everybody quit voting for candidates who raised obscene amounts of campaign money instead of claiming that it would "waste their vote"?

    That would be REAL power. But it is far too easy to sit back and think that the Anonymous protests will do what I should be doing, and let it lie at that. Responsibility over. End of story.

    I have modified some of my behavior before this. I will be putting some thought into what else I can do. I know that I will become even less popular with my family because of this.

    So, what are YOU planning on doing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:10am

    Re:

    Here's your tinfoil hat.

    Or, in other words, I'm someone who benefits from the current arraignment and would like it to continue so I'm going to try and discourage anyone from looking into or talking about the corruption by insinuating that they are somehow crazy for recognizing it. Please stop talking about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re:

    You disagree with what he said, not because of the actual content of his essay, but because of the colour of his shirt? What is this? Soccer?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    Re:

    @ #3

    those various governments dont think they need an excuse any more to do anything they want. us, the people, have become so complacent, we let all governments and corporations walk all over us with hardly a single adverse comment, let alone a protest. when there is any protest, it dies such a quick death, the proposals that triggered it dont even have time to be changed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re:

    I think that it is important to understand where people start from. I wouldn't expect a pro-anonymous piece from, say, Al Gore, but I might expect one from Julian Assange. I view their opinions not only for the words they right, but from there they are starting their discussion from, and their initial point of view.

    This professor is a big supporter of "the commons", Wikileaks, and other organizations and groups in this area. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that he doesn't see harm in anonymous.

    It's like asking a lion tamer about playing with lions. He might have a very different opinion than most of us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wouldn't it be better, and more effective, to actually address his points, though?

    Saying someone is wrong or that what they say is irrelevant purely because of who they are is kinda stupid. Even if they're the biggest crank in the world, isn't it better to demonstrate this by disproving their assertions?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:22am

    Anonymous Newest Threat.

    TO: People of the world

    SUBJECT: Anonymous Threat

    After conducting an investigation of the group Anonymous. I have discovered that they are a greater threat than originally believed. What I have discovered is this organization has developed a weapon that will hack every alarm clock in the world in attempt to keep everyone awake. This threat will destroy the world as we know it as people will be extremely tired, thus not be able to handle their daily responsibilities. Car accidents will increase, coffee workers will be forced to work 8x as hard, planes will crash, bosses will be angry, and nuclear destruction will surely happen as individuals will fall asleep on the big red button. There is also a strong possibility that the sun will quit shinning. It is of thee utmost importance that the governments of the world destroy this horrible threat. I recoomend that we remove all technologies that use fuel, electricity, or anything that has been invented after the stick and rock. This will make us all safer in the long run.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    argumentum ad hominem, gtfo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    mikey, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:28am

    "A more appropriate, balanced response to Anonymous’ attacks would err on the side of absorbing damage and making the hacks’ targets resilient...


    This part seems problematic insofar as it would mark the beginning of an internet arms race between $Big and the legion of under-employed basement dwellers. Such an escalation would simply provide the government with the proof it needs to declare the internet too dangerous, and redouble the effort to dismantle it. One could certainly argue that such an escalation is the natural order of the net, and has been happening even since before an entire generation of geeks watched Wargames, but the ability to put a singular face on it would be a dangerous tool of serious power for the anti-net crowd.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Watchit (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, the proffessor can't right an unbiased piece on Anonymous because he is a supporter of "the commons", but then someone who is not a supporter of the commons would then also be disqualified for writing an unbiased piece on Anonymous for that very reason as well.

    Therefore by your logic anyone who writes a piece on Anonymous would have to be completely devoid of any opinion on anything remotely related to Anonymous such as "the commons", where would one find such a person? under a rock?

    If I ever learned anything in school about writing arguments, it is that there is always a bias in every source. The trick is to determine that bias and then reconcile it within your argument.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Watchit (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "the professor can't write..."

    spelling fail...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I think it is important to understand where people start from."
    no shit ? ? ?
    ...and ? ? ?
    (*hint* why is it *you* -precious anonymous snowflake- do not follow your own advice ? ? ?)
    how is it we moronic freetards are to 'judge' your words and worth ? ? ?
    fool, meet petard...
    besides that, i am all for good ideas NO MATTER who or where they come from; i am all against bad ideas NO MATTER who or where they come from...
    i'm just consistent like that...
    (...and troll running away in 3...2...1...)
    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    hothmonster, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:48am

    Re: Anonymous Newest Threat.

    I am not stupid. My alarm clock is on a closed network.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    John, normally I would say yes, but the experience of Techdirt has taught me otherwise.

    When we discuss copyright here, I first have to overcome the incredible bias on the site AGAINST copyright before we can even debate the points. With the professor, it's clear that we have to overcome his pre-made tacit support for anonymous and all other online "groups" before we can even start to look at the points.

    You can't debate something until you put it on a level playing field. This is certainly far from a level playing field right now.

    We can start with "Diffuse and leaderless" which with the arrests in the last couple of months has proven otherwise. have you noticed since those arrests that Anonymous has become rudderless and pretty ineffective? It's because these groups do in fact have leadership, albeit ones who are using the "flat organization" model to try to hide themselves. But without these people guiding the ship, anonymous has splintered and turned into a bit of a non-event.

    His solutions are laughable as well:

    ". A more appropriate, balanced response to Anonymous’ attacks would err on the side of absorbing damage and making the hacks’ targets resilient, rather than aggressively surveilling and prosecuting the network and its participants."

    Basically, add another lock to your door, and don't worry about the lawlessness outside. Don't worry about the gangs running the street who are trying to break into your house all the time, just lock the door tighter and hope like hell they don't get in and kill you.

    It's stupid - it's a hands off approach that just leads to, not surprisingly, more people trying to hack into things. The more you ignore anonymous attacks and tolerate them, they more you encourage them.

    His initial point of view isn't right, and as a result, it clouds his "solutions".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hi RD!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Watchit (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:58am

    Penny Arcade's Extra Credit gives a great description of Anonymous in one of their episodes. The gist of the explanation is that while Anonymous is leaderless and "anyone" can become a member, doesn't mean you're actually part of Anonymous just by saying you are. The thing that really makes Anonymous what it is, are it's ideals, albeit they are broad and shifting ideals at times.

    These underlying ideals you'll find are similar to most any other vanilla civil rights movement, with a few exceptions, you will see: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Information, an Unregulated Internet, protests are not held for the financial benefit of its members, and mischief for the lolz.

    If you take this all into account, they would be considered just a rather rowdy protest movement that from time to time causes some property damage, except on the internet. But, because they are on the Internet, a scary and foreign place for our policy makers, they are seen as a "national security threat" rather than just a nuisance.

    The Extra Credit episode in particular found here:
    http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/anonymous

    It's an older episode, that is mainly concerned about Anonymous's involvement in the PlayStation Network hack, but the explanation given in the first half of the episode is applicable none the less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Hi I know nothing and have no personal opinion about the internet, the commons, the people, or the power struggle between personal rights and freedoms and the state/corporations. But the other day I heard about this anonymous group and my opinion is COMPLETELY FUCKING IRRELEVANT!""

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "A more appropriate, balanced response to Anonymous’ attacks would err on the side of absorbing damage and making the hacks’ targets resilient, rather than aggressively surveilling and prosecuting the network and its participants."

    Basically, add another lock to your door, and don't worry about the lawlessness outside. Don't worry about the gangs running the street who are trying to break into your house all the time, just lock the door tighter and hope like hell they don't get in and kill you."

    You miss the point. You can not arrest and stop hundreds of thousands of random individuals. Not to mention that the better they are at what they do the harder they are to find. What we should do is look at the laughable security flaws found in major corporations like Sony that are entrusted with the financial data of millions of companies and fix those. Regulated industry standards would go a long way to stop teenage script kiddies from exploiting decades old security flaws.

    Err on the side of absorbing and increasing protection. Not completely ignore there attacks. Sure go after the big ones and arrest who they can, but we should spend money making the internet more secure not increasing the level of surveillance. Find better ways to mitigate DDOS and punish companies that don't keep important customer information on a network utilizing current industry best practice.

    "It's stupid - it's a hands off approach that just leads to, not surprisingly, more people trying to hack into things. The more you ignore anonymous attacks and tolerate them, they more you encourage them."

    You know what encourages people to hack into things, the fact that 15 year old SQL injection techniques you can learn in 10 minutes on youtube still work on multi-billion dollar companies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    your bias means you want to see more punishment and you think it is his bias that makes him want to be more lenient and you do not consider the possibility that it is really the better way to spend the money, time and man hours despite your view of justice. Also I don't know if you have noticed but every time they put pressure on anon or make an arrest all it does is stir up anon and cause more attacks. The increased punishment leads to decreased instance of crime has never been true and seems especially untrue in this situation. You also take all his statements and push them too far to the extreme because his opinion is different and it is easy to argue with the extreme.

    You are concerned with bias because you are so biased. Rather than rationally and logically pick apart his argument you paint him as an extremist and write him off so you do not have to challenge your own opinion.

    Yes I am being judgmental and dickish but don't attack me attack the argument.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Watchit (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly my point sans the cursing :3

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You miss the point. You can not arrest and stop hundreds of thousands of random individuals."

    Of course you can't. But you only have to look at the Mega situation to understand that high profile actions can lead to others who are "in the grey" deciding they don't want to take the risk.

    You really need to understnad deterrent effects before you go too much further.

    Anonymous has been a spineless and useless group since the arrests. Anyone claiming they didn't have leadership has pretty much been proven wrong at this point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Anonymous has been a spineless and useless group since the arrests."

    Since they arrested lulzsec a little over a month ago?

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2166940/anonymous-hacktivists-attack-chinese-military

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2126733/Anonymous-takes-Home-Office-website-attack-Governm ent-surveillance-plans.html

    http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/040912-anonymous-attacks-trade- group-for-258097.html

    they seem fairly busy to me.

    "You really need to understnad deterrent effects before you go too much further."

    Right they were able to arrest and deter people with existing laws and enforcement methods. Stripping away the rights and privacy of people will only push more people to their side not deter them. To say here is a "group" that is angered by the overreaching powers of the goverment and corporations but if we give more power to the government and corporations they will go away is retarded.

    Building better protection from the type of attack that a script kiddie can do seems the better solution. Skilled malicious hackers will always be a threat to any system but with better security practices the thousand of play along at home "hacking" application users will be moot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A few random hacks are nothing compared to what was going on before. Now it's pretty much down to Brazilian script kiddies working to take a site down for 5 minutes so they can post a tango down message on twitter.

    The leadership got arrested, the group is in disarray.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What it was before? Lulzsec who are not anonymous were the ones doing real hacking and were arrested. So obviously that has stopped, even though Lulzsec hung up their black hat long before they were caught.

    Anon was mostly DDOS attacks done with a script with an occasional attack, usually more than a month between anything major. If they did actually hack the Chinese military that would probably be the most impressive thing they have done to date.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Of course you can't. But you only have to look at the Mega situation to understand that high profile actions can lead to others who are "in the grey" deciding they don't want to take the risk."

    It is possible that a small number of individuals may change their minds but it certainly will not deter dedicated actors or state sponsored attackers. If Anonymous is capable of obtaining as much "protected" data as they have it would be unwise to beleive that countries like China and Russia have not noticed and have also targeted these vulnerable systems.

    "You really need to understnad deterrent effects before you go too much further."

    One only needs to look at the number of people incarcirated in the United States as an example of the effectiveness of deterrent effects. Relying on this provides little to no protection.

    "Anonymous has been a spineless and useless group since the arrests."

    Yesterday Anonymous has attacked number10.gov.uk, homeoffice.gov.uk and justice.gov.uk and United States Telecom Association

    http://www.zdnet.co.uk/blogs/communication-breakdown-10000030/anonymous-attacks-government-sites -over-extradition-10025834/

    http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/25054/anonymous-attacks-hig htech-trade-groups-over-support-for-cispa/

    On April 5th they defaced hundreds of Chinese government web servers:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/253272/anonymous_attacks_china_defaces_hundreds_of_websit es.html

    "Anyone claiming they didn't have leadership has pretty much been proven wrong at this point"

    Anonymous' ability to rebound and launch attacks against three different targets in two days shows that they either have a hierarchy and disaster recovery plan that should be the envy of many governments and corporations or that they are indeed a flat organization. Given that they usually spend several months analyzing their targets, carefully infiltrating, then exporting data before blowing the site open indicates the attacks from the last several days began in January or February. This would seem to support the theory that Anonymous is a flat orgainization.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Basically, add another lock to your door, and don't worry about the lawlessness outside. Don't worry about the gangs running the street who are trying to break into your house all the time, just lock the door tighter and hope like hell they don't get in and kill you."

    What worries me, more than Anonymous' political leanings or occasional childishness is that the sites they successfully attack don't have the resilience to withstand what is now a fairly basic and well understood attack which is the DDOS and variants thereof. It simply isn't all that hard. So it's not another lock I'm looking for it's ONE lock, a fairly basic one. It isn't that hard to do which leads me to question the security of the rest of the site and what's behind it.

    I disagree with your idea that busting one or two "leaders" of Anonymous is much of, or any, deterrent to further attacks by the group. There is a lot in their protests that I do agree with even if they are, often, childish. Still, keep in mind that arrests and whacking people across the skull with nightsticks didn't put an end to the civil rights movement in the 1950s through 70s or the peace movement of the 1960s or 1970s.

    When the state over reacts to a legitimate protest movement which, I suggest, they have here it comes back to bite their arse and hard. I'd suggest that's what will happen here because a number of Anonymous' grievances are legitimate, in my mind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Arthur (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You said "I don't see him as a particularly impartial viewer of anonymous."

    So, you only accept information from people who don't care about the subject? That's insane.

    Of course, I know that's not really what you do. In truth, you only accept information from people who agree with you. That is also insane but is all too common.

    You said "You can't debate something until you put it on a level playing field. This is certainly far from a level playing field right now.

    Interesting "rules" you go by. Intelligent people debate things all the time starting from uneven starting positions. That's what debate is all about! What you are really saying is, because the debate is already favoring a position you don't like, we must ignore and discount all the factors that support that viewpoint.

    Um... no.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When we discuss copyright here, I first have to overcome the incredible bias on the site AGAINST copyright before we can even debate the points.


    What a ludicrous statement. The only way to overcome an entrenched bias is to begin with the assumption it is right and, through direct evidence and simple logic, demonstrate a strong contradiction.

    In other words, if you don't debate the points carefully and fully, you'll never overcome any bias, no matter what it is or who holds it.

    Enjoy spinning your wheels, I'm going to go convince a few more people of the significant corruption driven issues that have crept into copyright law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Re:

    I demand you remove the locks from all of your windows and doors to prevent escalation from thieves, such as breaking your window in order to enter. I further demand that you make a habit of leaving your belongings unattended in public as a preventative measure against muggings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The thing is, in the past these guys were not only lulzsec (and at one other name that escapes me at the moment) but also part of anonymous directly or indirectly. I think that in many ways, the named groups such as Lulzsec are the ones that really lead anonymous.

    Basically, these guys uses anonymous for cover, and used them to do their dirty work in DDoS attacks and similar. Since they have hung up their hats (and been arrested) I haven't seen anything of particular brilliance that is truly attributable to the masses of anonymous.

    I actually think lone wolf hackers who don't want too much attention attribute their individual hacks to anonymous, just to make it seem worthless to chase them down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    Re:

    It's also akin to adding more and more locks to your door. There is no absolute foolproof system to stop all hacks, in the same manner that you cannot stop all thieves. Concentrating on locking the door tighter just encourages them to try the windows.

    The real issue is that this sort of wrongdoing is tolerated and even tacitly encouraged by people like the professor, who are using a sort of "boys will be boys" approach to explain it, which is really not the right way to deal with it.

    Lock your doors tighter, and the law needs to work against those who wander around jiggling virtual doorknobs looking for a loose door.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    Overreacting To Anonymous Is A Greater Threat To Freedom, Innovation & Creativity Than Any Of Their Attacks


    Now I see - Anonymous is like terrorists in how people react to its activities. The comparison suddenly makes sense!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    Arthur (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

    Re: "Freetards"

    Any intelligent person will always come down on the side of freedom, no matter what it costs. To refer to those who advocate freedom as "freetards" shows that your bias is toward less freedom and more control. It also shows that you are not as intelligent as you think you are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    The Moondoggie, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 6:17pm

    Hacktivism or justification for trolling?

    We should really try to understand if Anonymous is beneficial or just a random threat. They do advocate internet freedom, but it seems only if they are benefitting on it. On another note they do have the firepower to take down a small nation. Kinda like the Russians, who took down E-stonia, only they're the American flavor.

    Unless they prove themselves REALLY useful, not just for Anonymous as a whole but for everyone, they seem to be just a bunch of kids, handed with a gun, trolling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ummm, no, it only proves that the brains could have done all the setup work ahead of time, and after they got arrested, the kids kept running their programs anyway.

    It doesn't say much - the have otherwise gone quiet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 6:48pm

    Osama bin Laden: I can destroy the entire American economy with four airplanes.

    Mullahs: No way! Can't be done!

    Osama bin Laden: I'll just destroy a few buildings and the stupid Americans will finish the job on themselves by overreacting.

    Mullahs: Hmm, like an allergy... We love it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 7:01pm

    Re:

    So anyone who thinks copyright lasts too long is not fit to comment on the subject.

    Good, then, you can outlaw most people on the planet then. What was that you were saying about majority rules, again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:07pm

    Re:

    More people vote for American Idol than for President.

    Society is focused on making sure people never have to take personal responsibility.
    Its not my fault my Congresscritter sucks and is bought off its the fault of the system, well no I didn't vote but all those people who called him evil should have.
    Its not my fault they are dumping trash in my neighborhood, well no I didn't call and report them or get a plate number, not my responsibility.
    Its not my fault that as an American people around the world hate me, I couldn't go protest or write a letter demanding better... my Farmville cow was sick!
    Its not my fault abortion got outlawed even for rape victims, I was to busy updating my Pinterest board to have time to make my voice heard.

    People assume others will do the work, and then bitch when the few who can and do try don't succeed.
    People were shocked and horrified about another BART shooting, up until it made their commute home a little longer because those evil protestors caused a fuss.

    Doing what is right is never easy, simple, or assured to win. But to use any of those as excuses to not even try is disgusting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:08pm

    Re: Re: Anonymous Newest Threat.

    can you say the same of your Congresscritter or any Faux News reporter?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Hacktivism or justification for trolling?

    *blink*

    So you would have them preforming good deeds like helping old ladies across streets before deciding they are the good guys.

    Step 1 - Stop trying to understand Anonymous and fit it into some singular example box.

    Step 2 - Look at what Anonymous has done, and the reasons for it.

    Step 3 - Explain the concept of firepower and taking down a small nation. Or do you just suck at analogies?

    Why does Anonymous have to meet some criteria of saving the planet as a whole before you can decide they are not a threat?
    There are people who think PETA is a great organization, and willfully overlook PETA kills more animals a year than many communities they protest.
    There are people tho think the Red Cross is a great organization, who were shocked to learn that money donated to specific causes was being held back form those causes incase something happened elsewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "keep in mind that arrests and whacking people across the skull with nightsticks didn't put an end to the civil rights movement in the 1950s through 70s or the peace movement of the 1960s or 1970s."

    I find it rather misleading and dishonest to compare a bunch of kids vandalizing websites with people fighting for human rights. Anonymous isn't fighting for rights, they are just tweaking noses of companies and groups they don't like, and being pricks about it.

    WOuld you have felt the same way about the civil rights movement if their methods were to burn down any building they didn't like, or to steal all the money out of companies they don't like?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    The moondoggie, Apr 12th, 2012 @ 12:33am

    Re: Re: Hacktivism or justification for trolling?

    Sometime ago Estonia's government sites were taken down my Russian hackers, due to Estonia removing some dumb statues. They had to call in experts to help repel the attack. I think Anonymous has the same capability.

    And if you can help an old lady across the street while infront of a computer, why not?

    But I'd rather have them take out MPAA/RIAA's computers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    Arthur (profile), Apr 12th, 2012 @ 7:00am

    More laws! More!

    The problems with your proposal are:
    1. The current laws have not affected cracking at all. What makes you think more laws will be different.
    2. Such laws, while not stopping criminal behavior, end up criminalizing legal behavior.
    3. These laws, then, push law-abiding citizens TO "criminal" behavior in order to accomplish what used to be, and should be, legal activities.

    To summarize: Your solution does nothing to solve the problems but, instead, makes things a lot worse. Other than that, nice try!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2012 @ 7:24am

    Re:

    You lost me at freetard

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 12th, 2012 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Hacktivism or justification for trolling?

    I'd rather have them dump everything on the **AA's machines.
    I'm sure we could find the outright bribery spelled out clearly.
    Would love to have them get the accounting records for the **AA's members and show how much they are stealing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2012 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You go ahead and keep thinking what you think since you refuse to look at facts or think logically about a issue once your have made up your mind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Apr 12th, 2012 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    appropriate (not increased) punishment helps cement the idea that 'doing this is bad' in the ideas of the public... problem is, you have to start with something that is ACTUALLY bad and your punishment needs to Actually be appropriate. anything contrary to the public interest and good is not appropriate. after that initial stage, Increasing punishments doesn't improve anything. enforcing them swiftly, and Accurately, does. (punishing people who are NOT in the wrong undermines your authority leading to resentment and revolt, in one form or another. failing to punish those who Are leads to loss of faith in the justice system and people simply not reporting less significant things or taking the task of resolving the issue into their own hands, the former rendering the law in question utterly irrelevant and the latter, depending on the issue in question, leading to various other issues.)

    the US government seems to nice and neatly fail on the 'appropriate punishment' 'law in line with public will' 'swift justice' and 'accurate justice' fronts.

    many supposed 'democracies' fail at 'swift justice' (side effect of bureaucracy and an excess of different and overly specific laws) bureaucratic governments (such as, again, most western representative democracies) fail at 'law in line with the public will' to various extents, and again, swift justice, bureaucracies and tyrannies both struggle with 'appropriate punishment' and tyrannies of all sorts have not time for or interest in 'accurate justice'.

    have fun in the USA :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    The Moondoggie, Apr 12th, 2012 @ 9:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hacktivism or justification for trolling?

    Or emails! Think of teh emails with a lot of zeroes in them. Anons should get them and sprawl them all over teh net.

    But how do we get them to do it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This