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  • Featured, News - Written by on Friday, February 12, 2010 10:05 - 10 Comments

    Anonymous: Attacks better than signing a petition

    A spokesperson for the loose coalition of individuals who attacked Federal Government websites this week to protest against the internet filtering policy today acknowledged some thought the attacks were juvenile, but said they sent more of a message than “signing a petition”.

    The group this week knocked the website of the Australian Parliament offline in a distributed denial of service attack that also targeted the website of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

    Government workers were also sent a flood of email with porn enclosed, prank phone calls and dodgy faxes, in an initiative dubbed “Operation Titstorm”.

    “Maybe some people think the attacks are juvenile but it makes more of a message then signing a petition as the attacks can not be ignored,” said an individual claiming to be a spokesperson for the group in an email interview.

    They added they did not feel the attack would completely stop the filter initiative initiative from being cancelled. “However, even if they make the blacklist public I personally will be happy, but there are other people that will not be happy until it is completely destroyed,” the spokesperson said.

    They said the aim of the attack was to make governments everywhere aware that they “can not mess with the internet and not have a backlash”.

    Despite their sentiments about petitions, the spokesperson said the best thing the broader Australian public could do to protest against the filter was to sign the petition of Electronic Frontiers Australia and tell government officials that they disagreed with the policy.

    It’s not the first time Anonymous has attacked government websites; in September last year, the group, which has achieved notoriety for its attacks against the Church of Scientology, temporarily took down several Australian Government websites, including the website of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

    In response to a question about whether that prior action had had any legal consequences, the spokesperson said the group had not had any reports of legal action, but as every member of Anonymous was an individual, the group had no formal membership and anyone could take part in the protest action, news of legal action against individuals did not always spread.

    In this week’s attack, the individual estimated that there were about 100 people actively participating in the protest, but because of the way Anonymous is organised, it was impossible to tell. Last night, they said, there were at least 480 people in an associated chat room discussing the attack.

    One of Anonymous’ claims is that the government is cracking down on in an inappropriate way on certain types of content online that may not be illegal, but may suggest illegal behaviour — for example pornographic images of women with a certain chest size that may suggest they are below 18. In answer to a question about the veracity of the claim, the spokesperson pointed to government statements and information released by the Australian Sex Party.

    Delimiter also asked the Anonymous spokesperson about their views on the internet meme lolcatz, which, like Anonymous, has been associated with the internet messageboard 4chan. “Lolcatz is great, what is not to love about a cat with a funny caption under it,” they said.

    Note: Delimiter does not have any specific knowledge of the identity of individual members of Anonymous. We simply emailed the operation.titstorm@gmail.com email address listed on Anonymous’ press release earlier this week and received a reply from an individual claiming to be a spokesperson. There are obvious journalistic difficulties with verifying the spokesperson’s identity, however we believe them to be affiliated with Anonymous.

    The spokesperson stressed they personally had not taken part in attacking government websites and was just acting as a spokesperson for Anonymous.

    Image credit: Anynonymoose, Creative Commons 2.0

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    1. carl marx
      Posted 13/02/2010 at 3:00 am | Permalink | Reply

      DDoS and sign a petition imo, no reason for the attacks to stop though – plenty of anons around the place to keep the attacks up for weeks on end

    2. c.j.b
      Posted 13/02/2010 at 3:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Editor: please learn the history of 'Anonymous'– the 420chan dropouts responsible for this attack have nothing in common with the 4chan Anonmousii responsible for the Hal Turner & etc. raids.

      "99%" of 4channers were vehemently against this retarded attack. I've got to wonder if the Scientologists have infiltrated this group of script kiddies and making them do stupid things…

    3. c.j.b
      Posted 13/02/2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      >implying a real 4channer would use 'lolcatz'

      It's "Caturday", ffs.

    4. LarrySDonald
      Posted 13/02/2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Wow. Sure AU is famously big breasted, but damn – a law on required breast size in porn? Suits me just fine, but yeah, I think anon is right in saying WTF in a very public way. It won't protect anyone, just make it more socially acceptable to need fully anonymous access (What?!? You looking at child porn and ripping peoples credit cards? – Nah bro I'm not like that I'm just not into the big breast thing and wanting to browse pr0n with 25-30 y/os with AAs – Oh, yeah, ok).

    5. pete
      Posted 13/02/2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

      there's no such thing as a "spokesperson" for anonymous. even if somebody claims to be one. it shouldn't be to hard to figure out, especially for a journalist.

      • Ted
        Posted 13/02/2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

        The thing is that actually understanding the will of Anonymous is beyond most people. It's hard to understand the idea of a bunch of wildly varied people coming together for a cause without allowing themselves to be permanently branded. People often become Anonymous for the explicit purpose of not having to deal with legal repercussions, and who can blame them? They do what they must, because they can.

        This world is sick and dying, to the point where Rorschach's gravelly proclamations are almost optimistic. Who could argue that some of the wrongs in this world could be handled far better through radical action than gentle diplomacy? There are a lot of horrible people in this world, doing horrible things to people, and many of them decide that hiding behind laws is the best way to shield themselves from public scrutiny.

        It works, too — as Aussies, you may not be aware of how powerful Scientology is in parts of USA, or how they tried and partially succeeded in infiltrating our government at many levels ranging from tax handling to legislation, securing themselves a defense against any threats to their business model. The RIAA and MPAA are also great examples. They've made quite a pretty penny suing the American public, both individually and at large, and have managed to completely and totally retard the ability of the creative process to move forward in the USA. Now they're pushing ACTA, trying to do the same thing on the global stage.

        These people are untouchable by normal means, and evil enough to not be swayed by logic and rational argument. You cannot stop them legitimately. As hard as this is to accept, you will not understand Anonymous until you understand this. People are weak, gullible, dumb, panicky animals, and you know it. Anonymous might not be any stronger, but it is certainly less fearful.

        "We do not forgive, we do not forget, expect us" is hardly a terrorist's creed. It is a statement of resolve. We do what we must, because we can. We are the only ones that have agreed that shedding our names and faces gives us back the power to inflict change on the world, and because of that, we must be the ones that go and act on what everybody knows to be right.

        Have you ever watched a group of students in a classroom? The teacher asks for an answer, and all of the apathetic, fearful students sit in silence. Do you know who speaks up? That one kid that is just as afraid as everybody else, but knows that something must be done. That is Anonymous. The pro bono lawyer, the independent grocer, the union representative, these are Anonymous. Although it is certain that Anonymous has done some awful things in the name of getting a cheap laugh, it is also certain that Anonymous has been a positive force in many cases. We have done great things with this mask. Terrible, yes, but great indeed.

    6. Outsider
      Posted 14/02/2010 at 11:54 am | Permalink | Reply

      Wow, I never suspected that Australia had people of such little intellectual power and felt so disenfranchised that they would stoop to these levels. I pity their poor parents as their shame must be unparalleled. Perhaps some counseling and anti-psychotic drugs could be made available to them?

      If it comes out that this group of miscreants have been abused in some way during their childhood, and I suspect they have been, we should all empathize with them and give them the help they are crying out for.

    7. […] http://delimiter.com.au/2010/02/12/anonymous-attacks-better-than-signing-a-petition/ […]

    8. […] via Delimiter – Anonymous: Attacks better than signing a petition. […]

    9. […] http://delimiter.com.au/2010/02/12/anonymous-attacks-better-than-signing-a-petition/ […]

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