I am a cynic - I believe that governments targets companies that become too uppity. (Apple should be concerned as well).
I love Google, and would happily pay for their products if I had to...it saddens me that they might be distracted by this sort of action. (like Microsoft and IBM before them).
It also surprises me that the American people let their government subsidize and bail-out broken industries (banks, GM, etc), while at the same time undermining the businesses that are successful. Up until now America has been lucky that they have been able to come up with the "next big thing" - I am not sure that this will always be the case.
Script kiddies would NOT have been able to hack:
~HB Gary Federal (Internet Security experts ... lol)
~Italian Police (the cyber crime evidence server ... lol)
While it is possible that certain intelligence agencies have tools and people at the their disposal which may allow them to "see where the tunnels lead", I very much doubt that the authorities would allow these tools (if they actually exist) to be used in garden variety criminal matters and certainly would not allow these techniques to be documented in court (such techniques would have to break a few laws).
I suspect that many of the arrests that have been made over the last few months are related to the use of the LOIC software as it is not really feasible to stealth the identity of machines running a DDoS tool (proxy'ing DDoS scale traffic would be difficult).
As for the identity of Topiary...maybe it is kid in Scotland, or maybe a kid in Sweden...or maybe this is all just disinformation (which is what I would expect from the spokesperson of a hacker group).
The masterminds behind LulzSec and Anonymous have established that they are competent hackers.
A competent hacker will access the internet from an open / hacked wifi connection / university internet lab, and route his / her handy-work through a network of rooted servers (spread around the world), with possibly a VPN (paid for with stolen credit card) and/ or TOR thrown in for good measure.
If the authorities are able to trace an attack through this web to its origin (and this in itself is unlikely) the person that they will arrest will be a hapless idiot with an insecure wifi account / or rooted machine. Of course anyone of us could be that hapless idiot as the hackers have demonstrated that they are able to make "experts" from law enforcement and internet security companies look like infants.
Punishment for what exactly? Felony use of a camera?
When the police are indistinguishable from criminals it becomes a case of he who has the most guns wins. In my country the poorly-paid police have learnt the hard way that the serious criminals have more money, faster cars and bigger guns. As a result crime is pretty rampant.
When the bad guys expect the police to shoot first and ask questions later, they just get more guns and make sure that they shoot first instead.
If I link to a webpage (the actual content does not matter as most content is subject to copyright), how I am I to know whether or not it has been copied without the permission of the copyright holder?