Anonymous Targets The Protect IP Bill

    May 23, 2011

Google is not the only well-known public entity that’s decrying the unfortunate Protect IP bill, a would-be tool of an entertainment industry desperately trying to maintain control over the concept of intellectual property, a muddled subject on the best of days. Keep in mind, the RIAA likes to keep the money they’ve won in previous IP lawsuits, confusing the subject of who they are actually protecting, themselves or the artists?

As expected, once text of the Protect IP bill hit, the backlash was quick and severe. So much so, it’s hard to believe those that make the laws are even considering the whims of the people they’re supposed to be representing; instead, favoring an entertainment industry that’s shown zero reason to evolve with the times, an industry that cares more about protecting its coffers than it does producing quality entertainment.

Just ask Roger Ebert and/or the Black Eyed Peas.

As for the much-maligned IP protection bill, you can find various criticisms all over the Internet, but for these purposes, Tech Dirt and CNet are good starting places. This post isn’t here to discuss the effectiveness or the lack thereof concerning Protect IP. Instead, the backlash has brought us to perhaps the second chapter of this story: Anonymous’ reaction.

Naturally, the folks in the Guy Fawkes masks aren’t too happy about the implications of the Protect IP bill, and so they’ve decided to fight back like they normally do: by conducting a denial of service attack against the site of the institution Anonymous feels wronged by. In this case, they will be targeting the United States Chamber of Commerce, which sounds like the kind of target Anonymous prefers. However, instead of relying on word of mouth, normally carried by various IRC channels, Anonymous reached out to one of the more outspoken sections of the Internet:

The current lead “story” at Reddit concerns a call to arms from the Anonymous army, asking for help in the upcoming attack, called “Operation Payback,”, which takes place on May 23rd, according to the flier. And yes, there is a themed-for-Reddit-flier for the event, which we have:

Operation Payback
Click for larger image

So far, there’s nothing on either of Anonymous’ Twitter accounts mentioning the invitation; however, the Reddit reaction thread is full of responses, with one in particular standing out. In it, user norten asks questions the effectiveness of such Anonymous attacks:

And DDoS isn’t? It’s exactly shit like this that scares the average voter into thinking the government needs more control to protect them from ‘hackers’. It won’t convince anyone that the internet needs less oversight, and it may sway some the exact opposite way.

Does Anonymous’ actions only exacerbate the “war” against the Internet or does it help? Whatever the case, it’s hard to deny the logic and common sense being displayed in norten’s response. And then, there’s this perspective from Nick4753:

Plus, who the fuck cares if the US Chamber of Commerce website is unavailable for 24-48 hours? How many people actually go to that website on a daily basis? The DDOS attacks that are most effective are usually those that cause substantial economic harm because they are aimed at an organization that relies on their website having 24/7/365 uptime. I just don’t see that applying here.

Is Anonymous targeting the wrong entity? Perhaps their efforts would be better spent engaging Senator Patrick Leahy, one of the chief architects for Protect IP. Just how effective do you think Anonymous’ techniques are? Let us know in the comments.