Now we understand the mechanism behind a DDoS attack and the background of Anonymous’ Operation: Payback, let’s take a look at some of the legal consequences that internet users might be facing in zealous support of WikiLeaks and DDoS attacks and what you can do to show your support.
Hypocrisies of the Attacked
Accusations against private companies’ hypocritical actions soon surfaced following the attacks. For instance, PayPal along with MasterCard and Visa have cut support for WikiLeaks but still route donations for the Klu Klux Klan and Amazon defended selling a how-to style pedophilia e-book for a time.
Going The Extra Mile Against Hactivists
Reddit user hellokevin11 posted a thread on December 11 regarding PayPal banning his business account pending investigation. The account was recently used to send money overseas and donate to WikiLeaks which may have prompted the investigation. Unfortunately, we are not privy to the reason as to why individual donations are being investigated, but is it excessive? The donation account is now blocked, what good is investigating individuals going to do despite other organizations now accepting donations on WikiLeaks behalf publicly.
Here we see groups like PayPal extending into private interest as we attempt to understand their actions. There is a threat of WikiLeaks revealing documents from Bank of America. Could there be dirt on PayPal lurking around the corner?
State Subversion of Due Process
If the State Department were to directly order Amazon and the rest to stop supporting WikiLeaks through legal procedures, proceedings would have to be arranged, lawyers hired, court dates set, and a bunch of other time-consuming mumbo jumbo which would not produce immediate results. The aforementioned letter on the other hand is just a means of legal persuasion.
Imagine for a moment that you run a WikiLeaks mirror and the State Department letter addressed to WikiLeaks is forwarded to you by a government office. The government has made you no legal threat, they merely inform you what may be on the horizon for WikiLeaks and that someone in a branch of government has deemed it necessary to give you this information assuming they are aware of the favor you are conducting for WikiLeaks. For the time being this could only be an empty threat, but in the event Assange is somehow brought to trial in America, what does this mean for you knowing that the government is aware of your association? Businesses are very subjective to this type of persuasion knowing that a fiasco like this could cripple a corporation permanently.
Cutting Off the Cash Flow
A parallel to this has been seen in the pornography industry when our government subverted obscenity laws. In the interest of keeping this entry work-safe we will not link to any stories or examples, but there have been instances where Homeland Security and other government agencies have not gone after production companies but instead hosting providers, banks, and the credit card companies in order to take down sites that could pose sticky situations in a court setting. WikiLeaks depends on hosting and funding to remain alive and it is immensely easier from a legal standpoint to take out the means of support instead of the alleged threat.
We are all too aware regarding some of the methods Anonymous uses to get their point across. We can neither encourage nor dissuade anyone from joining the legion but be aware that there are other organizations in this fight. The Electronic Frontier Foundation for instance is a fantastic non-profit group with a long standing history of fighting for digital rights for over 20 years now and is always in need of donations if you happened to be so financially inclined. There is also a project known as Operation: Leakspin which happens to be endorsed by Anonymous and involves actually reading all of the leaked cables for pertinent info, something most news groups don’t seem to be doing very well. Naturally as always, just simply being informed about the current situation with Assange and WikiLeaks in most cases is more than enough to be involved in the good fight.