Operation Payback And Wikileaks Show The Battle Lines Are About Distributed & Open vs. Centralized & Closed

from the the-soul-of-the-internet dept

Back in October, I wrote a thought-piece on how “the revolution will be distributed,” comparing Wikileaks to Anonymous’ “Operation Payback” (whose tactics I disagree with). I noted that the two were very different, and were focused on very different issues, but that both were essentially about distributed and open systems taking on systems that were centralized and closed — and that the folks in those centralized and closed systems didn’t seem to understand this. Thus, all of their reactions did little to fix the challenges they were facing.

It seems that my comparison of the two operations was a bit more prophetic than I expected. In the wake of the latest Wikileaks saga, Operation Payback is getting attention for pointing its DDoS takedown efforts on Visa and MasterCard for their decision to disallow any payments to Wikileaks via their cards.

I still disagree with the tactics of Operation Payback — which I fear will be counterproductive and could lead many people to think this is all about some “rowdy kids” rather than people with a serious agenda. However, it is rather telling how much attention they’re getting. The folks behind Operation Payback point out that they’re not affiliated with Wikileaks, but:

We fight for the same reasons. We want transparency and we counter censorship. The attempts to silence WikiLeaks are long strides closer to a world where we can not say what we think and are unable to express our opinions and ideas.

Again, I’m struck by the simple split many have here: it really is an argument between those who believe in distributed and open vs. centralized and closed — and I’m still not sure if the folks supporting centralized and closed even realize this. Their response, to date, has been to act as if they’re fighting a centralized system. They focus on things like Wikileaks’ domain and its founder — as if that’s the issue. They target the centralized pieces. And even if you make the argument that Wikileaks needs Julian Assange to stay together, if it were to shut down, it wouldn’t take long for a ton of other, similar offerings to spring up in its place. And, they would probably be even more effective (and potentially more damaging).

While I don’t necessarily like “war” analogies, what we’re seeing is very much a battle between the way people want to see information flow, and one side seems to be still fighting the last war.

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Comments on “Operation Payback And Wikileaks Show The Battle Lines Are About Distributed & Open vs. Centralized & Closed”

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78 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

The battle lines aren’t between centralized and distributed, it is about business, politics, and real life versus a group of people who feel entitled to disturb all of those things, regardless of who gets hurt.

It is between lawful living and random acts of cyber terrorism. It is between adult and the children of 4chan, powerful in numbers and skill but ignorant in life.

All of this of course being discussed on Techdirt, the very site that has spent the last year trying to tell us there is no such thing as cyber warfare. It too a bunch of script kiddies to prove you wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Maybe others can do a better job of extracting the essence of this statement, but these series of incidents are somewhat unlike the “cyberwar” scenarios outlined previously by nation-states. That’s the sense that I get, but I’ll admit that it’s biased by my support for Wikileaks, just like your viewpoint is biased by your opposition to them and your support of the nation-state in this matter.

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

What isn’t being mentioned is just who is behind the DDoS against Wikileaks itself.

I fully expect the gov’t wants people to think that it’s the normal hacker groups doing it. 4chan, Anonymous, etc. However, these groups are clear in their support for Wikileaks and so that likelyhood is quite slim.

That leaves other such groups and the world’s govt’s as the only people capable of doing this type of attack. Any bets on who might be doing it? (rhetorical)

My point being, we’re seeing the very first battle in the realm of cyber warfare with actual countries doing the attacking.

David Liu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, those were my thoughts exactly. There’s very little possibility that the DDOS on WikiLeaks was carried out by independent hacker groups. I mean, I don’t see any motive for any hacker group to move against WikiLeaks, since it basically goes against their credo, and it simply doesn’t hurt them.

I don’t want to sound conspiracy theorist and all, but the only way I see it is that the government (USA or other) is using their own resources to try to squash WikiLeaks as much as possible. And that’s a scary thought. We’re seeing the very first battles in cyber warfare, but with the government on one side, and the people on the other.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

There’s very little possibility that the DDOS on WikiLeaks was carried out by independent hacker groups. I mean, I don’t see any motive for any hacker group to move against WikiLeaks, since it basically goes against their credo, and it simply doesn’t hurt them.

there is a fair amount of division among the hackers i know over wikileaks. it goes back to the manning vs. lamo debate from a few months ago, which is mostly based on a natural division between hackers: the anarchy/political/humor motivated hackers and the “professional” types motivated primarily by money.

the hacker community is made up of a lot more than just kids from 4chan. the majority of the hackers i know are adult professionals that work in information security. the U.S. government and it’s contractors make up a large portion of the infosec market, followed by the financial sector, both of whom have a beef with wikileaks and operation payback.

also, as hacks go, DDOS just isn’t that hard to do. while it can be devastating, it’s the “hamburger helper” of attacks. calling the perpetrators “hackers” is kind of insulting to every interpretation of the term, including the pejorative.

also, /b/tards are known for their trolling, it could very well be that the DDOS on wikileaks is just one group of trolls inciting butthurt from another group of trolls.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Cyber

First, let me give you a clue–if it’s prefaced with ‘Cyber’ it probly doesn’t exist (cybersex, for example).

Second, there are lots of inhumane laws which exist for no other reason than regulatory capture has allowed those industries which were supposed to be regulated to instead dictate their own legislation mandating their product/service.

Third, I’m sure you’d know all about entitlement; apparently you are entitled to decree what is ‘adult’ and what qualifies as ‘terrorism.’ Since you rock SO very hard at decrees, could you help me with a little problem I’m having? Every day the tide rolls in on this beach near my place, please decree that it won’t do so.

‘_’

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, the US government isn’t a small group of people, it is “we the people”. Americans get their rights to vote, to select the people to lead them and make decisions for them. Democracy of this type means you choose your leaders and let them lead.

What wikileaks and the 4chan mob is suggesting is anarchy, where everyone is involved in everything all the time, that as citizens we feel some right to interrupt those that the majority chose to lead us, and inflict upon them our minority views.

What wikileaks et al are doing is terrorism, nothing more and nothing less. It is the minority attempting to impose change on the majority, by any means they see fit, regardless of the damages made to accomplish it. In this manner, they are no different from the IRA, Basque seperatists, the Tamil Tigers, or even Bin Hiding and his friends.

Wikileaks uses the “you must work with us, or we will reveal things about you” card, which is called blackmail in most places, to terrorize companies and governments. The 4chan children use ddos and other tactics to deny the rights of others at their discretion. They attempt to scare companies (in this case Visa and Mastercard) to do their bidding, or they will punish them. Terrorism at it’s finest.

As for the question of centralizes versus distributed, perhaps this is the best indication of what terrorism is. Armies are centralized forces. Terrorists are distributed cells, none of them powerful enough to win a war, but each with enough power to bring misery to others. As a civilized people, we should not tolerate and not condone terrorist acts, regardless of if it is an actual bomb or a cyber-bomb.

Watching Techdirt come down on the side of terrorists only makes it easier to understand many of the other opinions expressed here.

Kingster (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

What wikileaks et al are doing is terrorism, nothing more and nothing less. It is the minority attempting to impose change on the majority, by any means they see fit, regardless of the damages made to accomplish it.

Who are you to say that WikiLeaks and Anonymous (who is NOT 4chan) is the minority? We, as voters, have entrusted our government to do what is right, however, they have kept us in the dark for so long, and fed us so much bullshit, that we truly are mushrooms. We struggle now, with what’s right and wrong. And the crap that we’ve done, and condoned, as a country (yes, I’m a born and raised American) is utter crap. In many instances, we could be considered terrorists. But, because we’re America, that makes us “right”.

Minority? No. I don’t think so – I think most Americans (except those that watch Fox News for anything other than pure entertainment) would rather know what’s going on – what our government is doing in our names.

And, your centralized vs. distributed comment is pretty close to right – only you left out the part where we in the US have run distributed efforts for years – Afghani freedom fighters, Iran-Contra, etc. We (the US) aren’t above it. And we’ve done it in your name, just as much mine. Personally, I’d like to know what we’re doing in my name.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Granted, GP is a twit. But by automatically discounting any opinions and views aired on FNC, you’re just as big a twit. And you will continue to be one until you’re willing to give an unprejudiced hearing to views that disagree with your own and make up your own mind.

I read both FNC and TD feeds every day. I don’t automatically agree with either though because I prefer to do my own thinking. Often enough I even disagree with both.

Steven (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually democracy is where everyone is involved in everything all the time. What we have is a representative republic.

If killing innocent people and being a jerk are basically the same thing, then I guess they are terrorists. Hell, by that definition I’m a terrorist sometimes.

cyber-bomb? really? At least it’s not a cyber-bunker buster so it can’t get me here in my cyber-bunker. I think I should build some cyber tunnels so I can get away. I should probably stock up on cyber-MRE’s and cyber-bullets for by cyber-rifle.

zegota (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

To be fair, a “terrorist” is nothing more than someone who attempts to inflict fear on a population to get a desired result. Anon are definitely terrorists by definition. However, I’ll admit it’s a loaded word, and comparing a bunch of script-kiddies to a group that kills thousands of people is irresponsible.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“that as citizens we feel some right to interrupt those that the majority chose to lead us, and inflict upon them our minority views.”

That really sounds like what corporate lobbyists do, doesn’t it?

“What wikileaks et al are doing is terrorism, nothing more and nothing less.”

Definition – Terrorism : the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature.

When they start using real bombs against civilians wake me up.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

My GOD, hyperbole much?

1) Anarchy is not a lack of Order, it is a lack of ORDERS (note the ‘s’ on the end).

2) Anon doesn’t do anything becaus eit hates people – it does most of its shit ‘for lulz’. The most lulz is annoying those trying to shut down Wikileaks.

3) You can have a cell-based Army. These ‘terrorists’ are simply using the tools available. Wikileaks is not a terroroist organisation. IF it were, then most of the US MEdia would also be terrorists, not least Fox News.

JonValJon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The elected government is in fact a small group of people… We get two choices, and run more as a republic than a democracy. Democracies let their light of freedom shine from a hill, not try to smother it with political threats, domain name seizures and chilling effects.

Lets be clear, Wikileaks, 4chan, Anon, they do not seek anarchy. They seek open democracies. They seek freedom and liberty. They see the way to do this as fighting secrecy and corruption, pain, and death. IE. the aristocratic federal government, banksters and the military industrial complex. Sounds pretty damn democratic to me. The ?democracy? you seek is more readily available in North Korea or Iran?

Based on what you have said, the Tea Party was terrorists. The Minute Men were terrorists. Paul Revere, Benny Franklin, Thomas J, Washington, all anarchistic terrorists.

Im sick of people alleging terrorism, anarchism, and any other ism they don?t understand. If you really think that this country is founded on the suppression of information, controlling of speech, and the right for government to hold an infinite amount of ?state secrets,? you need to leave the US for a state that better upholds those values. I suggested a few earlier. I have a feeling you?re a republican, a conservative, perhaps even a neo-con. Start acting like one, and support our democracy you all so wish to return to. If you disagree with our countries open and democratic values? I?ve heard the Revolutionary Guards are hiring..

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No, 4chan and Anon seek amusing chaos. Ascribing altruism to them is ludicrous.

Based on what you have said, the Tea Party was terrorists. The Minute Men were terrorists. Paul Revere, Benny Franklin, Thomas J, Washington, all anarchistic terrorists.

They were, which is why I don’t get the whole “terrorism is evil” shtick. There’s no need to paint them as evil when “they want to kill you” is motivation aplenty for killing them first.

David Liu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No, 4chan and Anon seek amusing chaos. Ascribing altruism to them is ludicrous.
I think you’re not giving them enough credit. Behind the screens, many are still some intelligent people. They’re not all just a bunch of anarchists who want to see the world order thrown into chaos. They know what stupidity is and punish heavily for it. They see what clearly isn’t right and take action.

Sure, some of the antics they do may be juvenile and puerile, but when it comes down to the really serious stuff, they’re not idiots.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If you think the US Government is “we the people,” then you aren’t much of a self-thinker, are you? You receive all your ideas and opinions from your betters, don’t you?

Since before (but especially after) the Citizens United>/i> case, “we the people” includes corporations–major corporations have so much money (read: influence) that their opinions drown out the opinions of us mortal beings. So, of course, our elected officials cater to the needs and whims of “corporate citizens.” (Joe Lieberman’s term)

“We the people,” the real people–human beings of flesh and blood with one heart and one brain–are becoming the underclass of our society, with no actual voice in government. Sure, we still get our votes–and as individuals, we make our decisions individually–but as a large body of voters, we pretty much go with whoever impresses us with the most TV ad time. Elections are bought and sold in 30-second increments in prime-time slots.

It is tyranny, all the more insidious because the oppressed do not realize it. We are too distracted by our iPads, summer blockbusters, professional sports, etc., to notice the heavy yoke of oppression on our shoulders. The Romans called it “bread and circuses.”

But there are some who want to wake the sheep and help them realize where this path is leading us. Every setback for the USG or a major corporation is a small step forward for the individual. I, for one, cannot wait until the bank documents are released early next year.

Like it or not, realize it or not, this is the start of the revolution.

David Liu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“where everyone is involved in everything all the time, that as citizens we feel some right to interrupt those that the majority chose to lead us, and inflict upon them our minority views.”

We DO have the right to be involved in everything all the time. That’s the point of a democracy. You have every right to call up your local senator or congress representative or any elected official and tell them a piece of your mind. Just because the majority supported him at the time of election should not mean he has full power to do whatever he wants for the life of his term. He was elected to do what we expect him to do.

RadialSkid (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, the US government isn’t a small group of people, it is “we the people”.

Except, of course, for the ones who are kept in the dark in order to prevent educated voting decisions. Which is only all of us. Truth is essential to a functioning democracy.

What wikileaks and the 4chan mob is suggesting is anarchy, where everyone is involved in everything all the time, that as citizens we feel some right to interrupt those that the majority chose to lead us, and inflict upon them our minority views.

Your minority is encroaching upon the essential liberties of the rest of the world. You actually support the CIA abducting an innocent German citizen, then his abductors and torturers facing no justice for their crimes? Not only does that information need to be leaked, the torturers need to be locked up, NOW.

It is the minority attempting to impose change on the majority, by any means they see fit, regardless of the damages made to accomplish it. In this manner, they are no different from the IRA, Basque seperatists, the Tamil Tigers, or even Bin Hiding and his friends.

Don’t forget those that participated in the Boston Tea Party and the Underground Railroad. Damned terrorists.

we should not tolerate and not condone terrorist acts

What we shouldn’t tolerate is government corruption and crimes against humanity. Examples should made…start with the soldiers and CIA agents proven to have engaged in abduction, torture, and murder, then work up to the highest offices.

Steven (profile) says:

Re: old guard/new guard

This is pretty close to my thoughts. What we are seeing isn’t anything like a war, it’s a transition to a more efficient system. Just like any transition there is significant disruption and alot of angry ‘it’s the end of the world’ people who are used to the old way.

This transition from closed and central to open and distributed started decades ago with the birth of the internet. Most major companies are adopting (at varying rates) more decentralized and open management practices. It’s spreading and growing because it is a better, more efficient, way of doing things. It’s going to get really interesting when this breaks out of the private sector and starts getting into government. That will take a long time and we’ll have to deal with alot of screaming and gnashing of teeth.

TheStupidOne says:

Re: Re: old guard/new guard

It will take revolution or an election akin to revolution to make that switch in our government. While our elected government can be replaced every so many years and has incentive to be more open, our unelected government is much more difficult to replace, and has much less incentive to be open. Our unelected government is the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and all the other agencies that are entirely populated by career bureaucrats whose primary concern is they own job security and the expansion of their budget and therefore power. Many of these agencies have secrecy as their core value, and will do everything they can to avoid openness. The only way to open up our government is to disband these agencies and replace them with organizations with openness as a core principal. Good luck doing that within our current system.

Miles (profile) says:

What do you expect...

… when the group demanding an open freedom do so under the guise of anonymous, most of whom who hide their identities.

It’s like watching spoiled children fighting to gain access to the toy in a television commercial. It’s 30 seconds of stupidity, repeated with the next 30 second ad.

I enjoy reading the antics of Anonymous, but I also agree their methodology is a waste of time.

Oops. 30 seconds are up.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: What do you expect...

Anonymous isn’t attacking someone that just kinda pissed them off for following their right to refuse service, Anonymous is attacking companies that capitulate with a corrupt government. They’re just doing it in the only way they know how. Picket lines, letters to owners, letters to the government aren’t going to help here.

I know the comparison may be a little off, but I’d bet the Boston Tea Party looked quite stupid at the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What do you expect...

Who did those idiots think they were? Dressing up like filthy savages and throwing our favorite drink in the bay! They should’ve just shut up and paid their taxes like proper subjects of the Crown. (God Save the King!) If it weren’t for all this stupidity we could get down to the business of being a good productive colony of the Empire.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

No idea why I choose that title ….

It seems that this is the individuals against the organizations. Control -vs- Freedom. Ignorance and stupidity -vs- Knowledge and Enlightenment. Secret -vs- Open. I see this as something that will continue to escalate and will be very bad for most large corporations and governments.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

In some cases “openness” may be bad for government and good for the ordinary citizen, but in other cases it will likewise be especially bad for the collective government/citizen.

No fair minded individual believes that everything generated within government is truly in need of classified protection and the like. At the same time, however, no fair minded individual can deny that some information is of such an important nature that the need for its retention in secrecy is manifest.

It seems to me that the latter is receiving short shrift in discussions pertaining to the WikiLeaks matter.

Steven (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

Even with the documents wikileaks has released there is much redacted information. I have yet to see something come out of wikileaks that deserves government privacy. There may be some things, I certainly haven’t read even most of what has been put out, but these releases weren’t careless.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

Can you cite any examples?

I’m thinking of barely 2:
1) Battle plans! We’re killing some people (as a country, that is) and it would be rude to tell them exactly when we’re coming… for some reason.
2) Spy stuff! We’re playing in other people tree-forts and hoping their parents’ won’t find out! Whee!

Besides, there’s likely a good compromise–perhaps something like ‘1 year after the information is generated it will be released to citizens. Undiluted, unredacted, just released. Because the citizens have every right to know what their government is doing–and to demand politicians who actually work for the people.

TheStupidOne says:

Re: Re: Re: The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

Agreed, but there are more that I’d think should remain secret, mostly concerning the military, ongoing intelligence gathering programs, and privacy of citizens.

Of course during war, most everything should be secret, at least until you are in a position to end the war immediately and dramatically, then give your enemy a demonstration and force a surrender while saving as many lives as possible

Military technology development should be secretive. What better use of our time and money than to create a system that renders our potential enemy’s weapons useless. Keep it secret so that they waste their military spending on something they won’t be able to use against us. Make it public knowledge once it is mature so they know it will be useless to even try.

I do not want my tax records available for anyone to read, nor my driving record, library history or any other data the government has on me to be available for anyone who wants it.

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

“I do not want my tax records available for anyone to read, nor my driving record, library history or any other data the government has on me to be available for anyone who wants it.”

Those aren’t government dealings so there is no legitimate need for YOUR personal records to be disclosed publicly. The same criteria should apply to all individuals in this country.

It is the dealings of our collective government who is SUPPOSED to be working for US, the citizens, that we want disclosed. Obviously some things should be kept secret, especially military technology development et al. However, once that threshold is quickly reached the rest of the “employees” dealings should be well documented and easily accessible so that voters who actually elect these “employees” can vote with a reasonable amount of knowledge about how these individuals accomplish their workload.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

Ron, who are you to decide those rules? Would you think it wrong that Wikileaks posts up Obama’s tax returns in detail, or his score on his driving test, or details of a parking ticket he got?

You see, it’s the slippery slope. What if Wikileaks decides to add “transparency” to the US tax system, or any other private communication between you and officials? Are they suddenly wrong because it touches you?

NIMBY, it’s not just for nuclear waste.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

I agree with both of your comments, but the amount of stuff that is classified vs the amount of stuff that deserves that classification is way off. The information about an undercover agent, classified. What one ambassador said to another, not classified. ACTA, not classified. That kinda thing.

TeleTips Network (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

Agree with the Anonymous Coward, there is in this topic an element of “what is the right balance to strike between transparency and secrecy”?

So when, and where, does that discussion occur? I’ve asked in previous comments “what are the general principles and guidelines that should enlighten decisions about what information should be classified and what should be released?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The Singularity must be stopped at all costs!!

“So when, and where, does that discussion occur? I’ve asked in previous comments “what are the general principles and guidelines that should enlighten decisions about what information should be classified and what should be released?”

A seriously huge problem with any organization is that no matter what secrecy rules they are given, they tend to slowly expand to the point where everything is secret. Any new thing requires a new way of it being handled secrecy wise.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Mob rule

“Are we starting to see the emergence of the “Internet mob” now that DDOS tools are available to anyone?”

The internet mob has already arrived. If you look at china Deng Yujiao and China’s internet mobs. Techdirt actually did a story on this recently “China’s Internet Hunters Battle Morality One Mob At A Time”
.

This is a result of the government attempting censorship online and people needing to be heard. In china censorship has been a way of life. So they react to random perceived injustices and gang up on the bullies. In the western world we are reacting directly to the censorship and threats of censorship.

Last year I pointed out this phenomena would be coming to the western world in less than two years, and that it would be a result of the content industry. The US government is fanning the flames of this Anon rebelion. With the inevitable crack down you will see more people join the ranks of Anon. It will get much larger as people realize how much safety there is in an Anon group.

Anonymous Coward says:

I still disagree with the tactics of Operation Payback

I do, too.

The internet is a communications network, fer pete’s sake. Not some playground for cyber-generals with their sick, twisted analogies. The whole point of the ‘net is to enable people to talk to each other. DoS attacks kill that.

Yet… and there is a yet… this so-called ?Operation Payback? didn’t start this latest round. People can see that Wikileaks was first DoS’d for days by some so-called ?patriotic? fuckhead.

In sports, it’s a truism that the ref flags the guy who retaliates. I expect that’s gonna be true here too. The Secret Service will come down as hard as they can on people DDoS’ing Visa and Mastercard.

And the feds will totally ignore ?The Jester? who hit first.

Anonymous Coward says:

16 year old arrest for DDos Attack

http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=nl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegraaf.nl%2Fbinnenland%2F8457669%2F__Tiener_opgepakt_na_WikiLeaks-aanval__.html

Children at play. This sums up the 4chan / Operation Payback people. Don’t you feel special for supporting ignorant children?

Anonymous Coward says:

A revolution? I just visited sites belonging to Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Amazon. Didn’t seem to be any revolution here.

Are people so far removed from reality that they believe that a revolution can happen over the Internet? Revolutions are not pretty, revolters die, others die, if you that a revolution can be had from a keyboard, you have already lost. I see many who call for a revolution and try to spark it, but you still need those willing to march in the streets with guns, baseball bats and pitchforks (well, maybe not pitchforks anymore) willing to face down physical resistance.

I don’t see this happening anytime soon unless Anon can manage to shut down our power facilities and disrupt all communications.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Are people so far removed from reality that they believe that a revolution can happen over the Internet?”

Actually using the laws in any nation against politicians and corporations can change things if enough people are behind it and the information is available.

Imagine if you will, what would happen if all of Dick Cheneys e-mails of (supposed) private black water assasination squads were put in public view. Or if all of RIAA’s and the MPAA’s e-mails and legal document were brought to light. Or if the accounting servers at the Record labels and internal memos and e-mails were dumped for all to see. Or if Monsanto’s GM food studies and legal documents were dumped. Or if every e-mail at every bank on the planet were dumped on wiki leaks. Or if every politician in a given nation had every financial record and e-mail brought to light.

If this was constantly done, there would be a slow and steady erosion of the publics trust in the government and corporations. A call for change would emerge. One of the really problematic things for the PTB (Powers That Be) is that this is beginning to occur. Sites like wikileaks will accelerate it. You will see more 4chan kiddies joining the ranks of Anon. In ten years they will be young adults, with the next generation following up behind them.

God flog the queen … I’m on a horse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Organization [was ]

… if enough people are behind it….

Errmmhh… harumph…. Actually, all experience hath shown that unless you’re politically organized, the people have no political power.

Certainly, the distributed nature of the ‘net changes organizational dynamics. But it doesn’t seem to eliminate the base necessity of organization.

‘Course, at heart, I might be a Mao-ist: Political power flows from the barrel of a gun.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, what would happen is simple, and has been explained here 1000 times before when discussing piracy:

If you try to drive it out, you drive it underground.

All that will happen is that the companies / governments / political figures will go further to limit their liabilty. They will go underground. They will only deliver messages in a manner that cannot be tracked or maintained. They will use “personal envoys” to deliver messages by voice only, they will use aes256 encoded documents, and they make what they want to be secret even more secret.

The erosion of public trust in government has a lot more to do with misinformation, campaigns of fear and hysteria, and even the current finger pointing and name calling that passes for news on Fox and MSNBC. Everything is done by pointing out the failings, catching people doing things (usually minor but embarrassing), and amplifying it.

Wikileaks in the end is just another shrill voice, posting selected documents and playing the ultimate in gotchya politics, teaching the underage masses to hate government. For what end? I cannot believe for a moment that they want more democracy, they want things done their way. Think of Wikileaks as the Karl Rove of the Pirate Party, and you are starting to see things more clearly. They don’t want things better, they want things their way.

As soon as a group starts to preach that they know what is right for me, and what is better for me, and that the majority of people are stupid and should subscribe to the view of the small minority, well, at that point I know they are failing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

All that will happen is that the companies / governments / political figures will go further to limit their liabilty. They will go underground. They will only deliver messages in a manner that cannot be tracked or maintained. They will use “personal envoys” to deliver messages by voice only, they will use aes256 encoded documents, and they make what they want to be secret even more secret.

If you read Assange’s views, that is exactly his plan.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

As soon as a group starts to preach that they know what is right for me, and what is better for me, and that the majority of people are stupid and should subscribe to the view of the small minority, well, at that point I know they are failing.

A group like the government subscribing to the view of a small minority of corporations?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That sort of an answer is just sloganism at it’s finest.

There are few governments (if any) who subscribe exclusively to the views of a small minority of corporations. That is the evil picture that the anarchists want you to think.

Anarcists? Yeah, you know, those morons who travel the world “protesting” G8 and G20 style meetings by rioting and attempting to break into the host sites. They are trying to force a very narrow, minority view of a world without commerce, without any business bigger than perhaps their local pot dealer.

The reality is that most governments must listen to all sides, and must make choices that, no matter how much they do against our personal opinions, are in the end good for us. They have to listen to voters, they have to listen to companies, they have to listen to other countries, areas, etc. They have to put it all together, and within the guidelines of the constitutions of their countries, they have to make choices and decisions. We may not like them all, we may not like how they got made, but in the end, the vast majority of them work out okay for the vast majority of people.

The anarchists, the terrorists, and their ilk want to wipe all of that away, and want governments to follow their narrow views, regardless of the effects on other people. It makes those groups feel good if everything was there way, but they really are a minority.

Almost everyone goes through a phase in their life where they want to “stick it to the man”. Shortly after that, they get a job with the man, make money from the man, and when the man dies, they become the man. Somewhere along the line, the realize that sticking it to the man is a meaningless, luddite way of approaching life.

I cannot see anything that wikileaks is doing that will move us forward, if anything it will make nations less likely to want to deal with each other. Then again, anti-globalism is an anarchist’s big dream. Perhaps they have been unmasked.

Richard Kulawiec says:

Re: Re:

Didn’t seem to be any revolution here.

Yet.

Or: maybe it is here, maybe it just isn’t recognizable as such because it manifests itself in a way different from all previous ones. Political, economic, social changes are not fixed for all time: they evolve in response to the exigencies of the moment as well as in response to changes in communication and technology.

Or: maybe “revolution” isn’t the right word. Maybe there isn’t a term for what we’re witnessing, because (despite all the overheated rhetoric) this isn’t revolution, nor terrorism, nor anarchy, nor nihilism, nor any other -ism or -chy that we could enumerate. Maybe it’s too soon to tell.

But one thing is clear: there’s no going back. Even now, all over the world, Wikileaks-like operations are being planned and built. Some will be better, some will be worse, some will succeed, some will fail. But they are quite, quite impossible to stop. So everyone needs to get used to the reality of their existence — including governments.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

see: agricultural revolution, Industrial revolution, many descriptions of New Zealand’s change in government election system…

a revolution is simply a rapid paradigm shift in how a nation (or, i suppose, planet) functions. it is distinct from a revolt, rebellion, or coup, in that the outcome is not, in fact, simply a change in who, exactly, runs things.

Pierre Wolff (profile) says:

A lil' ironic

While I’m sensitive and understand Operation Payback’s cause celebre (“We fight for the same reasons. We want transparency and we counter censorship.”), I believe that they may be misunderstanding that Assange and Wikileaks are not seeking to make things more transparent for transparency’s sake, but as a means to attack what they see as conspiracies.

In the case of the last three releases, they were addressing conspiracies of the U.S. gov’t. They have previously dealt w/conspiracies of the Kenyan gov’t. Soon they will be moving on to conspiracies of a large U.S. bank. Their belief is that by exposing the communications and links between the actors/nodes in the conspiracy, they can force those to shut down or reduce their ability to easily communicate, significantly reducing the conspiracy’s ability to be effective.

For a better and very detailed analysis of one of Assange’s white papers, check out: https://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/julian-assange-and-the-computer-conspiracy-%E2%80%9Cto-destroy-this-invisible-government%E2%80%9D/#. The pointer to this analysis was provided via the Wikileaks twitter account.

For lack of a better term, I believe Wikileaks is actually trying to hack the political systems. He is taking a very geek approach to this problem…and we will see if after all this is said and done, it actually brings about positive change. I sure hope so.

Ryan Diederich says:

This Is Not Warfare...

This is a simple protest, has nothing to do with war or cyber-crime, if there is such a thing. This is a bunch of people who are fed up with their governments trying to hold information hostage.

While I disagree with the release of information that could possibly bring harm to those aiding in the fight against terrorism, this is absolutely necessary in the grand scheme of things.

I think we should draft a declaration of indepedence, comparing the internet to a new territory, a new colony. We need to declare our independence from the oppressive governments.

No, we are not trying to disrupt the way things should be, the government is. When you get hundreds of millions of people using the internet, and a small, privleged group of people try to tell them how to do it, they are going to revolt.

Revolt has many levels of intensity, the lowest being mental contempt and the higher being DDOSing. The entire movement cannot be generalized by the actions of its most radical of members. Nonetheless, change is coming. Turns out, that small priveliged group of people arent programming experts, but the millions of internet users are.

Despite opposition, the users will win. The reason why is simple, we have the power to do it ourselves. We can host our own internet, distributed beyond the control of those in power. I see this happening very soon in the future, despite resistance frrom the government.

Placing more control on information simple makes it apparent how against it we are. Prohibition anyone? Or anything else where agroup of individuals feels oppressed,eventually leading to revolt and change of power, the people will win in the end.

Yes, I have the pirate party logo stenciled on the spare tire on the back of my car 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

OP was an exercise to increase the costs of visa and mastercard, they dont care about anything like freedom of speech or expression only their bottom lines. if their website is flooded or people are unable to make payments using their systems then they see in black and white the monetary cost of dropping wikileaks and similar sites and so may think twice about doing it again.

Ben says:

Again I feel like I have to explain 4chan and anon to people.

Firstly, there’s a misconception that anon is made of sweaty 16 yearolds in there parents basements.

They’re not. Anon isn’t the current /b/.

Anon the people that do these attacks are made up of the old /b/. Back when /b/ was a place for really smart people to go to act really dumb. They’re not, or at least the main people arn’t just some 16 year old script kiddies.

And yeah they claim that they’re doing it for the lulz, a quick look at there history shows they’re obviously doing it for what they perceive as injustices. They’ve gone after white supremacists, people that hurt animals etc.

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