Anonymous, most recently known for their digital protest interventions, are tough to pin down with definitive definitions. Perhaps one of the most uncontroversial statements one can nail on them is that they and their tactics are controversial. After yesterday’s extensive Anon-led distributed denial of service attacks prompted by the take-down of the popular file sharing site Megaupload, I thought I would ask CO readers to reflect on the DDoS as a political tactic. I have complied a few basic questions to help kick-start the discussion.
- Is it reasonable to compare a DDoS with civil disobedience or direct action?
- What might be an appropriate legal response for those campaigns that are deemed by courts as political protest? (Perhaps not answerable)
- How does the media and the public misunderstand these events? (and perhaps the media are the ones are responsible for the “success” of a DDoS campaign)
- Is the political effect of the DDoS primarily symbolic and a way for people to very quickly and collectively express their position on a matter?
- Is there anything lulzy about the DDoS? (Does that even matter?)
- How might the DDoS be deployed more ethically as political protest? Under what conditions or configurations might it be more permissible, palatable or effective? Or i it just too noxious and problematic to use for political purposes?
I will admit the DDoS is not what interests me the most about Anonymous, a bias clearly reflected in this piece I just published on them, but definitely worth pausing on for a bit after yesterday’s actions.