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[liberationtech] ethical/legal issues around Reclaim UCSD "virtual sit-in" ?

Meredith L. Patterson clonearmy at gmail.com
Thu Mar 1 19:09:21 PST 2012


A few years ago, the group Artists Against 419 used a similar
technique to take down fake banking/escrow sites by exhausting their
bandwidth allowances: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lad_Vampire

The tool went offline in 2007; AA419 doesn't say whether they ran into
any legal issues. Reading between the lines, though, it sounds like
while the tool was effective, they got the same results with less
collateral damage via other techniques. See
http://wiki.aa419.org/index.php/New_Bandwidth_Policy.

Different scenario, of course, but it's an old approach.

--mlp

On Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> So I was informed about this site:
>
> March 1st-5th Virtual Sit-In Participation
>
> via a friend on Facebook. While this site does not use the words "DDOS" it
> certainly seems to me that they are encouraging humans (rather than bots) to
> reload a series of pages repeatedly as an attempt to cause a DDOS. (It has
> also been confirmed to me that this is the goal)
>
> So that leaves me to ask the group:
>
> 1. Is this legal? I *believe* encouraging/participating/causing a DDOS to be
> illegal, but I'm not certain? I'm sure some of our EFF colleagues or others
> can answer this.
>
> 2. Assuming that it is illegal, what are the ethical issues in play? The
> site does not provide a visitor any information about the legality or even
> the practicality of the action they are encouraged to engage in. It simply
> says:
>
> "Once this browser window is open, you can  just sit back and relax, or open
> a new browser window and do anything else you need to do, BUT LEAVE THE
> ACTION WINDOW OPEN IN THE BACKGROUND, THE LONGER THE BETTER.
>
> You can also click the SPAWN link to open multiple windows and make the
> sit-in more effective.
>
> NOTE: While you may be apprehensive about downloading anything, the folder
> only has 4 simple HTML pages, and only the index.html page needs to be
> copied and pasted into the browser."
>
> Without making a judgement on the action or goal itself, I'd love to hear
> thoughts on the issues I've noted or other comments!
>
>
> cheers
>
> Brian
>
> "
>
> --
>
>
>
> Brian Conley
>
> Director, Small World News
>
> http://smallworldnews.tv
>
> m: 646.285.2046
>
> Skype: brianjoelconley
>
> public
> key: http://pgp.mit.edu:11371/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0xCEEF938A1DBDD587
>
>
>
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