Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Dec 2010 12:16 UTC
Internet & Networking It looks like several companies are learning what happens when you mess with the internet - and they're learning it the hard way. Several major companies have been hit by the collective powers of Anonymous after 4chan launched several distributed denial-of-service attacks. What many have been predicting for a long time now has finally happened: an actual war between the powers that be on one side, and the internet on the other. Update: PayPal has admitted their WikiLeaks snub came after pressure from the US government, and Datacell, which takes care of payments to Wikileaks, is threatening to sue MasterCard over Wikileaks' account suspension. Update II: Visa.com is down due to the attack. Update III: PayPal has caved under the pressure, and will release the funds in the WikiLeaks account.
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RE[3]: Hmmm
by brewmastre on Wed 8th Dec 2010 13:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hmmm"
brewmastre
Member since:
2006-08-01

...It's interesting how reality is diverging from this alternate universe where Wikileaks apparently has a right to possess and disseminate others' information (aka invasion of privacy) that they want.


Umm, what? It's the United States government, they are supposed to represent us...they work for us. They were never created to grow bigger than us and keep things from us. I'm proud to be an American but that pride is fading. We (the US) cannot hold others to a standard that we ourselves will not live up to.

Reply Parent Score: 12

RE[4]: Hmmm
by LighthouseJ on Wed 8th Dec 2010 13:40 in reply to "RE[3]: Hmmm"
LighthouseJ Member since:
2009-06-18

Umm, what? It's the United States government, they are supposed to represent us...they work for us. They were never created to grow bigger than us and keep things from us. I'm proud to be an American but that pride is fading. We (the US) cannot hold others to a standard that we ourselves will not live up to.


You missed the point of what I said. I was purely discussing the fact that information can only be "free'd" by the originating source. You can apply the same thing I said to doctor-patient or attourney-client privileges.

If someone stole your latest STD screening results and gave them to me, I hyped it up as something juicy to tell your friends and family, then released it on the ground of public health. Did I nobly free information or was I complicit in invading your privacy regardless of how important public health is?
Who gets to decide which is more valuable?

What happened is that someone took information (the "invading privacy" part) and leaked it, and people all around are saying "ohh, it's freedom of information! see how pure the motives are!". That's the divergent part from reality.

As far as what the US Government should do, and if they are working for the citizens, that's a different discussion.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Hmmm
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 8th Dec 2010 13:48 in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You missed the point of what I said. I was purely discussing the fact that information can only be "free'd" by the originating source. You can apply the same thing I said to doctor-patient or attourney-client privileges.


If either the doctor or the patient committed a crime, and the information would be relevant to the case, then yes, that information would become available.

You can't apply the rules of the individual to a government. We are supposed to check our government - and we can't do that if they just label everything "secret" while waving flags around talking about terrorism a lot.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[5]: Hmmm
by brewmastre on Wed 8th Dec 2010 14:04 in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
brewmastre Member since:
2006-08-01

You can apply the same thing I said to doctor-patient or attourney-client privileges.

If someone stole your latest STD screening results and gave them to me, I hyped it up as something juicy to tell your friends and family, then released it on the ground of public health. Did I nobly free information or was I complicit in invading your privacy regardless of how important public health is?
Who gets to decide which is more valuable?


No, I would compare this more to an employer(the people)-employee(the gov't) relationship. Since they work for us, they have absolutely no right to privacy or a right to keep things from us. They either conform to our standards and be open and honest, or they're fired.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Hmmm
by Almafeta on Wed 8th Dec 2010 16:56 in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

I was purely discussing the fact that information can only be "free'd" by the originating source.


Unfortunately, that 'fact' is not supported by law.

The entire concept of public domain (an idea that's about two hundred years old) is based around the idea that the government has the power to sieze ownership of IP after a period of time. In this, it is using its power of eminent domain to sieze intellectual property that it cannot trace to an owner just like it might sieze real estate that it cannot trace to an owner - clearly a case where the originating source doesn't free. Even then, this same eminent domain power can be used by the government to arbitrarially change the date of copyright expiration (as has happened a few times in recent memory), granting copyright to or withdrawing copyright from individual owners or entire groups of owners (most notably, the various acts and laws enacted to comply with the Berne Convention, which caused entire swaths of works to come out of the public domain as far as the US was concerned).

Even before copyright expires, in the United States, there is protection of fair use - to prevent copyright law from being used as a bludgeon to stifle public discourse on current events. The personal right to fair use is not circumvented by knowledge becoming public knowledge through illegal means. In this way, a fact (Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father) might enter public knowledge and public discourse even though the primary source (Star Wars) is still copyrighted. It'd still be a crime to steal a copy of Star Wars, but I can read and write and talk about it all I like.

The exceptions you refer to are just that - exceptions. Attorney-client and doctor-patient priviledge are restrictions placed on attornies and doctors so they can perform their jobs; for better or worse, they are not the right to have personal information stay out of public knowledge. For example, if you saw me take two pills of digoxin, you'd be in your rights to blog all day long about what you saw me take and your suspicions about what diseases it implies I have, even though my doctor or attorney would not not have the right to do the same thing.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Hmmm
by bryanv on Wed 8th Dec 2010 17:15 in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

The way I see it, The Government is my employee. I'm their boss. I pay their paychecks. Without the overwhelming consent (at least in this country) of myself and people like me, they're not to exist.

So, I'd like to know why -- if I'm paying for this stuff to be produced. If I'm paying for them to produce work product, or carry out tasks, etc. Shouldn't it also be my right to inspect the results of my employing them?

WTF?

Every citizen in the US is for lack of a better analogy a 'voting board member' of the government. We should all have access to whatever documents are produced, actions taken, or efforts undertaken at our expense and in our name.

This cloak and dagger government bullshit is not the way it should be.

I'm not advocating anarchy. I'm advocating the restoration of a civic-minded democracy, where the government should be deadly afraid of the populous, rather then hell-bent on subduing them.

Reply Parent Score: 8

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I don't intend to premote the skript kiddies self-identifying as "anonymous" (they are simply using a DDos pointy-clicky someone else wrote after all).

*But* (cause you knew it was coming)

Wikileaks does not seem to be in the business of breaking into systems to procure information; it was first "free'd" by an original source that had access to it. Wikileaks also seems to have done some work to redact though not remotely as much black strips as the US gov would lay on it before a FOIA request response.

Until Wikileaks starts breaking into systems, I'm going to lay that blame on the insider threat and, as applicable, administrators that didn't lock there systems down. (Why did an analyst have access to that amount of unrelated information and why was an analyst able to duplicate and transport that information?)

Hopefully the outcome of all this is not innocent being harmed but I think the US gov's statements are intentionally overstated. The US gov was caught with it's dick in it's hands not victimized.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Hmmm
by elsewhere on Thu 9th Dec 2010 07:25 in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

What happened is that someone took information (the "invading privacy" part) and leaked it, and people all around are saying "ohh, it's freedom of information! see how pure the motives are!". That's the divergent part from reality.


There's no such thing as "invasion of privacy" when it comes to democratic governments. They should be operating in complete transparency. The public they serve is entitled to understand how they operate. You can't compare the wikileaks expose to someone dumpster diving to drag out information on a private citizen. Citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy, governments do not.

That said, I will agree that there is a murky area between a citizen's right to know, versus a citizen's need to know. Too much transparency can be a bad thing, the issue is finding the balance.

Personally, I think wikileaks has jumped the shark. They served an interestingly noble purpose at the start, but I'm not sure what noble purpose is now being served by the leak of all these US gov't docs, particularly without providing any context to them. Now, they simply seem to be serving an agenda.

However, I'm very concerned with the implications that any sort of repercussions against wikileaks could have on the internet at large. The real issue is not that wikileaks is releasing this information, the issue is that the US had allowed this information to be released in the first place. Sure, they have the guy that did it in custody, but that doesn't address the fact that he was able to do it in the first place. Wikileaks is complicit in spreading the information, but other than embarrassing the gov't, have they actually broken a law? We've had the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Deep Throat et al. in the past, and the press was protected, why is the situation with wikileaks any different?

The real story is that a low-ranking disenfranchised soldier was able to extract and disseminate this information in the first place. That's a serious breakdown in security policy, representing a violation of the trust the US had inherent in their diplomatic ties.

The huffing and puffing about wikileaks is a smokescreen to conceal that. The info should never have been made available, but it was. At least by having it out in the open, everyone's cards are on the table. If the information had been made secretly available to organizations or nations with more nefarious intents, the repercussions could potentially be more serious. No way to tell.

At the end of the day, the US Gov't is responsible for this happening, the information is now free, and fingerpointing and posturing won't change that.

As far as what the US Government should do, and if they are working for the citizens, that's a different discussion.


Quite, and let's keep in mind, by looking at a reverse perspective of this issue, the White House blocked access to ACTA documents under FOIA by claiming National Security. The pendulum swings both ways.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Hmmm
by MollyC on Thu 9th Dec 2010 05:57 in reply to "RE[3]: Hmmm"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Would you be OK with me obtaining your name and social security number and releasing it on the internet? After all, that's simply government information, everyone has a right to see it, right?

Secondly, Assange admits to having a stolen copy of private emails of private corporations, and says he will release them as well. So the excuse that "All government information wants to be free" (which I don't buy, nor should you, even just based on the Social Security number example I gave above) doesn't even apply to Assange's operation. He'll release private info of private citizens if he feels like it.

Edited 2010-12-09 05:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Hmmm
by elsewhere on Thu 9th Dec 2010 07:45 in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Would you be OK with me obtaining your name and social security number and releasing it on the internet? After all, that's simply government information, everyone has a right to see it, right?


I get where you're going and don't disagree, but I'm going to play devil's advocate and point out that there should really not be an issue with publishing an SSN. It is a government record and simply serves as a unique identifier and validation for US citizens to streamline processing of government services. It was never designed to be a form of strong authentication, and it's simply bad policy that allows the SSN to be abused in this way.

If a list was published with every US citizen's name and SSN, it might spark the gov't to reconsider the whole concept and come up with something more secure that would prevent the private sector from utilizing it in an unsecure manner and risking personal identities.

I'm a realist, so I agree with your point, but just thought I'd throw that out there...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Hmmm
by _txf_ on Thu 9th Dec 2010 08:57 in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

Except that Wikileaks Redacts information that can be harmful to innocent individuals.

Reply Parent Score: 2