The hacktivist group Anonymous, or someone claiming to be associated with them named Dylan K., has taken the unusual step of petitioning the Obama Administration to make Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) legal.
At the time of writing the petition has gathered 2,043 signatures but there have been reports that
The number of signatures required for the matter to be taken up by Obama is 25,000, which have to be collected by February 6th, 2013. However even if they required number is reached there is no guarantee Obama will do anything to fulfill the wishes of the petitioners.
A YouTube.ru post
Whether Anonymous intended the move to be a serious one or not, the fact that the petition has not been taken down, despite the U.S. Government’s stance on hactivism and Anonymous, is surprising if not commendable.
Anonymous is hoping to make the legalization of DDoS attacks retroactive so that the slate would be cleaned, so to speak, something we have seen the US Government do very often in the past decade or so, with water-boarding, torture, warrantless wiretapping, Guantanamo, secret arrests, rendition, unauthorized aggressive wars, extra-judicial executions, droning and Obama’s daily kill list, to name a few, but alas it may not be meant to be.
A government that brands information activists, hacktivists, Occupiers, whistle-blowers and others as “terrorists” and “enemies of the state” is very unlikely to allow anyone other than themselves to have the benefit of the doubt.
Anonymous, hacktivists and many others, share the thinking that a DDoS attack is the equivalent of a sit in, only it takes place in cyber-space.
In reality DDoS attacks just slow down or shut down a site temporarily, they do not deface the content of a site or steal secret or private information and they generally last for short periods of time, so the cyber warriors have their point.
The following message was posted by Anonymous on several forums and someone has been nice enough to provide the audio. Unfortunately I doubt Obama will even consider such a petition.
Download audio file
"Greetings Obama and fellow Americans,
This is Anonymous. At the time this message was sent to you, Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) are illegal. This is not hacking, it's the equivalent of hitting the refresh button on a webpage, which every one of us has done at least one time in life. Should we be sent to jail if we push that button a thousand times a second? No! When we start this kind of attack it's just the same as a sit-in. If we "refresh" a thousand times a second it will slow down the website, which is a type of protest or a sit-in at work. Both of those are completely legal. The only difference is that we are doing it on the internet, at home, at school, at a coffee shop or at a library. Why are people protesting? They do it because they want to see changes, positive ones.
We Anonymous, are calling upon not only fellow anonymous. We are calling on Americans to rise up for the change. There is a petition on the White House website asking President Obama to make denial of service attacks a legal way of protesting, release and clear all criminal records of those who have been jailed for DDoS attacks. Remember, when president Obama was first elected he wanted change. So does Anonymous.
We Are Anonymous
We Are The Change
We Are Legion
For We Are Many
In a fair world the virtual sit-ins would not be prosecuted, after all they do no real harm, but the US Government is at war with anyone who threatens their secrecy. We have seen this with Jeremy Hammond who is facing life in prison for the Stratfor e-mail release, Julian Assange who has been declared a terrorist and enemy of the state and many other hacktivists who are wanted or doing serious prison time for DDoS attacks and other forms of cyber “hactivities.”
Anonymous, or those posting the “petition,” are hoping that by legalizing the DDoS attacks the criminal records of past offenders would also be wiped clean but alas I seriously doubt that will happen.
As Anonymous is a highly decentralized and anonymous organization, pinning down the petitioner “Dylan K.” is impossible as is ascertaining the seriousness with which the petition will be received. One might note that the White House petition site has been used for some strange things recently and its credibility may be suffering for it.
Some argue that a sit in or demonstration is not the same as a DDoS attack as they involve thousands of people and a DDoS attack could be carried out by one sick individual who has a bone to pick or aXe to grind, but regardless, the DDoS attack may have no real tangible effect, except for whatever exists in cyber space.
Certain Anonymous members said that no one really knows who filed the petition and it was perhaps a single Anon, or a small group, pretending to speak for the group as has happened many times in the past. Anonymous or not, the petition, a legitimate way to seek justice and make positive change is not to be allowed to stand by an administration that treasures escalation, shuns “change we can believe in” and wishes to brand anything and anyone it can an “enemy-of-the-state.”
On another note, since the petition site of the White House requires the giving of personal information and the creation of an account, the whole thing may be just another fishing expedition by federal authorities trying to collect names of individuals sympathetic to Anonymous, something that may be stopping the petition from going viral. We don’t know and the White House has not returned our requests for comment.
The views and opinions expressed here are my own. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The statement and audio were provided by Anonymous, maybe.