In what has to be one of the most unusual “Get-The-Vote-Out” campaigns that I have personally seen it appears that Anonymous and the Occupy group are urging people to hold politicians accountable for their actions by voting them out of office. While some in the media are calling this a first it is not the in reality. In multiple messages Anonymous has called on the public to hold their political leaders accountable. Their methods might be different at times, but this is also the beginning of the voting season in the US so the move really comes as no surprise.
If there is one thing that you can say Anonymous has done that has a measurable positive effect it is exposing the level of Corporate and Government Ignorance. Ignorance is not an admissible excuse any longer in this day and age and is often used in court when someone says they did not know they were breaking the law. Since this is generally accepted why is anyone willing to give companies that show massive amounts of ignorance (which is just really lack of forethought or cost cutting) when it is discovered that their systems are not secure? We are shocked that this is at all acceptable considering the data breaches going back as far as 2009. Still we continually hear about this product or that network is suddenly discovered to be insecure. Exactly how is that possible?
Well it looks like CISPA has been shot down in the US for now. This was thanks to a fairly big internet campaign to let people know that the vote was happening (it was voted on yesterday) and while most of the world was watching the antics of Samsung and Apple the Senate tried to vote the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act into law. But to be honest with you toward the end (and as we get closer to the elections) we had a feeling this one would be scrapped. It was too much for many voters who already feel their privacy is being abused. The Senators knew that passing this would be a quick ticket back home as the popular opinion was against them.
Looking at bills like SOPA, PIPA and CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) it is easy to see the argument for Civil Liberties, Censorship, Personal Privacy and Private Communications. In fact we hear about this on a daily basis from groups like Anonymous, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future and more. However, while all of these arguments are very valid and ring in the ears of voters and consumers everywhere there is another threat that many are overlooking. This threat might even be larger than the ones that are talked about over and over; the security threat.
In every occasion if you dig deep enough you will find the reasons for someone’s actions, even if they seem completely random. For a while now we have watched as congress has pushed one stupid internet control law after another. For many (us included) we have felt that this was at the request of the MPAA, RIAA and other copyright holders. After all the measures and consequences in the laws were geared toward them and helping them to “prevent piracy”.
We have previously reported that the US entertainment industry is trying very hard to push their version of the “law” out to the rest of the world. They have, quite literally, spent billions of dollars lobbying and campaigning to get the laws made in their favor. Now the fact that these laws include exceptionally oppressive measures, remove due process and also make even the most mundane violations into major crimes does not concern them. All they want to do is make sure that they keep control of the content and the money it brings in.
If you ever needed evidence of how badly laws like PIPA and SOPA (and of course ACTA) could and would be abused you have to look no further than some of the laws that are already in place. We have shown you how the lawyers for the entertainment industry have (and continue to do so) violated due process and circumvented even court orders to get what they want. Now we have Spain’s Sinde Law as a direct show of how eager the content “owners” are to pull down sites or simply make complaints.
An important step for privacy on the internet and actually people’s general right to privacy happened yesterday. Most of us have heard the rumblings of the CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) and also the Executive Order signed by the US president that allows law enforcement to simply ask for user information. These laws also remove the right to privacy and in some cases the right to anonymity from the public on the internet. What many might not know is that a limited form of these acts has been in effect for some time inside the infamous Patriot Act.
A while ago we wrote a piece that talked (in simple terms) about how Anonymous could kill the internet through attacking the root DNS servers. The article was written with the intent to give a background on the system in place and how it works. We did not then, nor do we now believe that Anonymous would take down the internet. As with all of the threats to take down twitter, Facebook and other forms of communication it would be exceptionally counterproductive. If Anonymous were to take down the internet and prevent connecting to servers via DNS it would lose many of their followers and supporters for at least the length of the hack.
The fight for internet freedom, privacy and net neutrality has been a rough one. Over the past couple of years we have watched as a parade of laws have trotted past us. SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, and more have all shown us one certain thing; the powers that be have little to no regard for individual freedoms, free speech or the impact of restrictive laws on innovation, technology and the economy as a whole. However there was an underlying trend to these laws that disturbed us and many other privacy and right groups out there. The trend was a general trammeling of the right to free speech when it comes to any online sources; some would even say any source that had an opposing view point. Even the right to have protected sources was slowly being removed if you were an independent blogger (citizen journalist) and this effort is now being expanded.