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If you believe in Internet freedom, you should hate the DDOS attacks in defence of Wikileaks

By on December 10, 2010

I don’t think I have seen a more stupid bunch of freedom fighters.

WikiLeaks Blog

In defence of Wikileaks, an organisation that calls itself [anonymous] have launched Distributed Denial of Service attacks of the basic infrastucture of commerce on the web. Companies like Paypal and Mastercard which are crucial to businesses and shoppers in the run up to Christmas.

Why are they doing it? According to “a statement circulating online, apparently from Operation Payback,” and quoted in the Guardian:

"We will fire at anything or anyone that tries to censor WikiLeaks, including multibillion-dollar companies such as PayPal. Twitter, you’re next for censoring #WikiLeaks discussion. The major shitstorm has begun,"

In other words, they want to support openness and independence on the web and to protest against authoritarian government.

Way to go, guys. You have done the one thing that has authoritarian governments rubbing their hands in glee.

You’ve launched an attack on non-combatants, designed to maximise the impact on ordinary people going about their business.

The word “terrorism” is a loaded one (just read the Wikipedia entry on terrorism for how hard it is to get anyone to agree what it actually means). I’m not sure I would use it here.

But others will. Others who want to regulate cyberspace. Others who want to authorise the routine snooping of our online activities by the police and the military. Those who have been shown to be powerless in the face of these attacks will seek to increase their power.

So thanks a bunch, Operation Payback. Your puerile actions will strengthen the resolve of governments across the world to increase their cyber-surveillance.

Whatever it was you hoped to achieve by this, I am damned sure you just achieved the opposite.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: