from the having-an-impact dept
Well, this is getting interesting. While I still don’t approve of the tactics of vigilante hacker groups, it’s hard to deny that they’re having some impact. After reports came out that Autralian telco giant Telstra was going to start censoring the internet by blocking a bunch of sites the government says are evil, the company has now indicated that it’s wavering on its support of the plan, in large part due to fear of hacker reprisal attacks. In the stilted English of The Australian:
It is understood Telstra was last night still grappling with the decision as to whether to commit to the voluntary filter because of fears of reprisals from the internet vigilantes behind a spate of recent cyber attacks.
It is understood the unstructured collective of hackers that identifies itself as Lulz Security, which has an agenda to wreak havoc on corporate and government cyber assets, claiming this is to expose security flaws, is one of Telstra main concerns.
While I don’t think the filters are a good idea, and am surprised and impressed by the “effectiveness” of LulzSec’s efforts in getting Telstra to be aware that people don’t like these filters and that there could be consequences, I do still wonder if this is really the best way to go about these things. Lots of folks will cheer this on because they agree with the end result (no censorship), but what if LulzSec (or a similar group, now that LulzSec says it’s going away) makes a unilateral decision on something you disagree with? One of the problems of the censorship plan in Australia is that there’s no oversight, and no way to appeal. But isn’t that the same thing with those targeted by hactivists? Even if we agree with their general outlook, there’s still a very real risk of collateral damage in a different way.
Of course, it’s not just Telstra rethinking its position on censoring the internet. Apparently some of the other ISPs who had agreed to take part in this “voluntary” censorship are suddenly saying that it’s not definite yet as to whether they’ll take part. It sounds like many of these ISPs hoped they could just start censoring the internet without anyone noticing.