Anonymous. Image: scragz/Flickr.
Anonymous, the collective with no base of operations, looks as if it will tone down the wave of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks launched several weeks ago, moving towards a grassroots campaign to reform both patent and copyright law. After the attacks however, will anyone listen? According to Anonymous, they'd better... or else.
It all started in September. Anonymous took issue with Aiplex, a company hired to launch DDoS attacks against The Pirate Bay. This led to Operation Payback, which took flooding to an entirely new level. The collective launched DDoS attacks of its own, part protest and part retribution against Aiplex, and then moved on to target the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
But that was only the beginning. By October 7 there were 742 service interruptions, and over 530 hours of downtime, as the LOIC-driven (Low Orbit Ion Cannon) attacks targeted ACS:Law, the RIAA, the MPAA, Davenport Lyons, IFPI, BPI, Aiplex, AFACT, SGAE.ES and MCU.ES, among others.
Earlier this month, while the other attacks were taking place, Anonymous hit the U.S. Copyright Office, taking it offline for half an hour and leaving it sluggish when it did return.
Anonymous went after anyone it viewed as standing in the way of information sharing. This means that the aforementioned legal organizations, copyright and intellectual property enforcement organizations, and government bodies were targeted for their stance on various information-based policies. In addition, recording artists such as Gene Simmons of KISS were singled out for their stand on file sharing.
Many who weighed in on the DDoS attacks said that, in the long run, the attacks would not get the message across that Anonymous wanted. The collective gained some high-profile attention, but nothing that matters, such as policy, has changed.
“Operation: Payback still has a too low profile. It has been fun DDoSing, but now we need some results. As spokesman for Anonymous I have written a lot of statements for the past five weeks. I am satisfied that a lot of those statements have been published on the larger news websites and sometimes even made the national news and newspapers,” outlined a statement from Anonymous, which was sent to us by Sean-Paul Correll at Panda Security.
“But apparently DDoSing and hacking websites alone is not good enough. Apparently we are still not any worse than a train being ten minutes late. We could announce actions for the fifth of November, next year. But I doubt those will be taken serious either. We started attacking government sites, but those will eventually be ignored as well,” it added.
Sean-Paul, who has been following the attacks since they started, received two statements from Anonymous outlining a public awareness campaign and listing a series of reform proposals, which the collective claims it will negotiate, as long as communication is two-way.
“So from now on, WE set the scale. We come up with demands, feasible demands, about copyright, censorship and government influences. We present them the choice. And when they decide to ignore us still, we will fuck stuff up. We have been holding back on them too long. But no more of that. We switched IRC servers too often. But no more of that. They have taken down our websites too many times. But no more of that. If they want to get personal, they can GET it. So stop messing around.”
On the following pages are the full statements received from Anonymous. It remains to be seen if the reform proposals will gain the traction that is expected, but you can certainly see that some of the ideas make sense.
The problem is, most of the government regulators have little incentive to listen to demands from a group of people who started by attacking first, and make it clear that they will do it again if progess is not attained.
All of the coverage from Sean-Paul on the attacks can be viewed by clicking here.
[Full, unedited statement from Anonymous shared with The Tech Herald on Nov 8]
I haven't heard anything about us in the elections in USA.
I haven't read anything about Operation: Payback in my newspapers.
Operation: Payback still has a too low profile. It has been fun DDoSing, but now we need some results. As spokesman for Anonymous I have written a lot of statements for the past five weeks. I am satisfied that a lot of those statements have been published on the larger news websites and sometimes even made the national news and newspapers.
But apparently DDoSing and hacking websites alone is not good enough. Apparently we are still not any worse than a train being ten minutes late. We could announce actions for the fifth of November, next year. But I doubt those will be taken serious either. We started attacking government sites, but those will eventually be ignored as well.
So I say you, we take this to a higher level. We will print posters, we will send emails, we will send letters. We will broadcast our manifestos and intentions. We will involve people who do not know nor care. We will involve everybody. Whether they want it or not.
We don't have the money to spend on Guy Fawkes / V for Vendetta masks for everybody, nor would we spend our money on it. But we will use a feasible approach. Involving local, then national, then global politics. Anonymous has been --without knowing-- holding back. We have seen what we can do to Andrew Crossley and his firm. We saw what happened to Gene Simmons. But all this is still child play.
We are still ignored.
So from now on, WE set the scale. We come up with demands, feasible demands, about copyright, censorship and government influences. We present them the choice. And when they decide to ignore us still, we will fuck stuff up. We have been holding back on them too long. But no more of that. We switched IRC servers too often. But no more of that. They have taken down our websites too many times. But no more of that. If they want to get personal, they can GET it. So stop messing around.
We will put our posters in every supermarket, school, every billboard and open place. We will spread our flyers in every public place. We will send anonymous letters. We will make prank calls. We will paint on your houses. We will leave our trails. We will wake you up in the middle of the night. We will remind you of our statements. The more you try to ignore us, the more noise we will make.
Anonymous will be set free. Anonymous will no longer be controlled. Chaos.
We are Anonymous.
We are not alone.
[Full, unedited statement from Anonymous shared with The Tech Herald on Nov 8]
The government gave the entertainment industry free reign, heard all their wishes. Now do your task and help your citizens. Heed our wish for uncensored internet. Heed our wish to share what we like and make. And trust us that we reward the people whose work we appreciate. Because that's what it is still about, right?
We prepared a number of World Wide statements on copyright revision. We are willing to negotiate these, as long as communication is two-way.
Short Term (within the next 2 or 3 years)
Copyright lifetime reduced to ~25 years
- token of good faith towards the general public
- allows enough time for commercial exploitation
- allows remixing/attribution of anything made before 1985 (currently 1935)
No more piracy lawsuits
- no more ruling through fear and intimidation
- no pay-up-or-else scams
- entertainment industries have to come up with new business models that concur with the modern era (read: internet)
Patent lifetime reduced to ~15 years
- companies will have to innovate;
- they don't have the exclusive rights to build upon the past
- building upon old patents allows for new innovation
Idle patent lifetime reduced to ~3 years
- no patent trolls; patents that are unused are available for new purposes
- where unused patents are usable again, there is place for new innovation
- Censorship will only lead to corruption, dictatorship, for those who censor
- esrb-like ratings / child locks for websites with adult/improper content should be clientside (parent's home)
Medium Term (within the next 10 years)
Copyright lifetime reduced to ~5 years
- allows remixing/attribution of anything that is considered an "old hit"
- forces artists to stay active and come up with something new, instead of the eternal autotune/repeated shit.
Pharmaceutical/medical patent/copyright lifetime reduced to 1 or 2 years
- minimal exploitation
- original purpose lives again: improving/saving life quality (should be a # 1 priority)
- room for improving medicines
- no more lobbying for hospitals to use only their medicines
Global patents lifetime reduced to 5 years
- sufficient time for exploitation
- maximum delay for new innovations reduced to 5 years
(also note arguments for previous statements)
Long Term (longer than 10 years)
Copyright and patent lifetime reduced to 1 or 0 year
- innovation as primary vision, not monetary gain.
- allows full speed innovation;
- no holding back of new technology/creativity
- vision of humanity will improve
- no need for lobbying; no inefficient politics
- common sense wins over monetary gain
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