Anonymous, a loose knit group of Internet activists, has just posted a petition on the White House “We the People” website. It asks that Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks be recognized as a legal form of protest. They compare it to the way Occupy protestors occupied public spaces by pitching tents. They argue that DDoS attacks, which break no federal or state laws, also occupy public spaces in order to send a political message.

In a DDoS attack, bots are created that overwhelm a website with so many visits that it becomes temporarily inaccessible. Anonymous has claimed responsibility for numerous DDoS attacks over the past several years. They are best known for taking Visa, Mastercard and Amazon offline in 2010 for their efforts to shut off financial support to Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

The petition declares

“With the advance in internet technology, comes new grounds for protesting. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), is not any form of hacking in any way. It is the equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage. It is, in that way, no different than any “occupy” protest. Instead of a group of people standing outside a building to occupy the area, they are having their computer occupy a website to slow (or deny) service of that particular website for a short time.

As part of this petition, those who have been jailed for DDoS should be immediately [sic] released and have anything regarding a DDoS, that is on their records cleared.”

Sign petition here


photo credit: Stian Eikeland via photopin cc