30 thoughts on “Bring down the government (website)

  1. Are these that same dudes that have waged a sesies of youtube and internet attacks on Scientology? They make reference to fighting scientology and the Iranian govt on their site.

    If so I wouldn’t dismiss them too lightly. I agree with their causes but some of their methods are questionable.

  2. I suspect it’s not an “organisation” in the traditional sense… it’s becoming more of a brand. So whilst they talk about previous attacks on scientology, etc, it may not be the same people. That could make them very effective…

    As for providing details on how to circumvent the filter, I was going to suggest something like this myself – it seems a most effective way to neutralise the threat of censorship that the filter poses.

    Interestingly, we can see how the things will develop on this slippery slope – so far, we’ve had

    1) Gov announces filter for illegal content (nasty stuff like child porn – who could argue against that?)

    2) List is kept secret – since they don’t want to advertise illegal sites

    3) Other (non-illegal) stuff inevitably ends up on list (censorship creep)

    4) Somebody publishes the list (heroes)

    5) Government declares that publishing the list is itself illegal (more censorship creep)

    The next steps are:

    6) Someone publishes how to circumvent the filter

    7) Government will make that illegal as well (yet more censorship creep)

    But what happens if a political party publishes these details during a political campaign? Could be interesting… I’ve actually been thinking about this for a while, and it occurs to that if the details were included in documents as part of a petition to be presented to parliament, it might be protected by parliamentary privilege.

  3. Look I agree we need to fight Internet censorship with direct action, and for that I salute these guys.

    However they run the risk of making things worse by using illegal methods. They could give the government ammunition to say it’s just law-breaking anarchists who oppose it and why don’t we just ban them as well – how long before their site and any others linking to is are added to the blacklist.

    Their fight against Scientology, in my view, just distracted form the myriad of legitimate arguments against the religious cult.

  4. “…how long before their site and any others linking to is are added to the blacklist.”

    Not long – but I think that’s inevitable, regardless who/how it’s done… right at the beginning they tried to paint anyone who disagreed as pedos – and look how quickly they complained that linking to the list was illegal (whether it was or not was never tested – they used fear to stop people linking to it).

    This censorship legislation is insidious – you need to grow a pair if you want to oppose it.

  5. I not sure about this. I think the branding idea is fine but I don’t like the brand image been presented.
    I also think the hacking could ultimately be counterproductive.

    The first thing I noticed was the collective tone and that makes me suspicious (I’m not really sure if this is good or bad in this context).
    Second impression was the threatening nature of the speech. It’s all a bit V for Vendetta and anarchistic IMO. And I don’t agree with that approach.

    I don’t think Australia is at the stage where anonymity is necessary for political activism. Can someone tell me why the anoymous approach is advantageous? My reaction is to think that they are bluffing.

    In regards to employing hackers and that type of thing, I’m against that. For starters, you lose credibility once you cross the line into vandalism and initating force yourself.
    I think that while Australia still has a democratic process and is not yet a fascist country (although like the rest of the world Australia is currently moving in this direction), then I don’t think you can justify the use of force.
    Under a dictatorship, I think you have no choice in some situations but to retaliate with force. You certainly have no choice but to break the law in order to survive eg/ using black markets
    Sometimes violent revolutions are necessary. As most people probably agree, the ongoing fight for freedom has historically not been an easy one – brief periods of freedom in human history have only been possible because of brave people that value freedom so highly that they are prepared to die to achieve it. People who realise that in an unfree world you may as well be dead anyway because you cannot live as a human.
    But I think there is enough permitted speech in Australia, and not enough government corruption to argue that we have crossed the line into fascism.

    Having said all that, if you look at the “Speak Up” tab on the website, all the suggestions listed are good ones. Things that I do already.

  6. Yes I agree Tim R – that was the thrust of what I was trying to say before, but you’ve articulated it better.

    If we sanction these guys, what about the eco-activists who sabotage power stations?

  7. However they run the risk of making things worse by using illegal methods. They could give the government ammunition to say it’s just law-breaking anarchists who oppose it ….

    Papa; We are up against the state and those who see our proper place as belonging to it so an anarchistic campaign is entirely appropriate and should be applauded. I love it. As for using illegal methods, I find it difficult to grasp quite what you see as the problem in this. They are not using or threatening violence, killing, stealing, or trying to interfere with the freedoms of others, other than the freedom of creatures of the state to dictate to us which of our personal liberties, if any we are free to exercise now.

    The state has the authority to make anything illegal for any reason, so legality has become a mere buzz-word. If they were threatening to act in an unethical manner I would condemn them.

    If we insist on following the legal requirements dictated by the government, we might as well just “report to our commissar at our local railway station with a shovel and warm clothing and turn ourselves in as thought criminals.”

  8. you could argue that legality is a mere buzz word, and some civil disobedience such as publishing the blacklist and ways to circumvent filters is a good idea. But I agree with Tim R – there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

    But equally, what’s ethical behaviour? You could argue that deliberately bringing down a government website is not. Its also kind of ironic when it’s done in the name of free speech, censoring in the name of anti-censorship if you will.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m against this web censorship as much as anyone, and

  9. you could argue that legality is a mere buzz word, and some civil disobedience such as publishing the blacklist and ways to circumvent filters is a good idea. But I agree with Tim R – there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

    But equally, what’s ethical behaviour? You could argue that deliberately bringing down a government website is not. Its also kind of ironic when it’s done in the name of free speech, censoring in the name of anti-censorship if you will.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m against this web censorship as much as anyone, but I think there are better ways to fight it. The main one is by distributing as much information as possible.

  10. I agree that there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, and for the record, no – I don’t support eco-whack-jobs, and I don’t condone hacking websites either.

    Though I believe providing the lists, and relaying ways to circumvent the filter are valid forms of expression – regardless of their legal status. And anonymity may be essential for these things, simply to avoid legal action (even if you believe the law will come down on your side).

    In regards to employing hackers and that type of thing, I’m against that. For starters, you lose credibility once you cross the line into vandalism and initating force yourself.

    Like I said – it’s just a brand – nobody is “employing” anything… some teenager defaces a website, and does so in the name of anon; people attend a protest, and where a V-mask, and suddenly they’re anon; people do a youtube clip, and they post as anon. Anonymous is “everybody” and yet “nobody”… I think the idea might catch on.

  11. Fleeced – that’s a bit like how al-Qaeda operate.

    I know there’s absolutely no moral comparison apart from that, but just saying…

  12. I presume that the anonymous thing is just a provocative marketing ploy. A quick whois lookup would allow you to track down the name of the person that registered the website.

  13. ‘Their’ website is not Australian, and is not a single place (although there is one major site on which most of this stuff originates.) Plus the sites tend to be moving targets somewhat. I don’t know what Conroy or Rudd could really do to directly stop this but they’ll probably claim that it’s a small group of fanatics (or kids?) and that the vast majority of Australians support the measures (which is bullshit of course.) Of course direct DDOSs on the government sites is counter-productive and will be chased by the AFP. They’re better off sticking to education and verbal attacks.

  14. The DDOS and website defacing are most likely script-kiddies – and though I don’t approve of that, I don’t see it as a major problem for the anti-censorship movement.

  15. As Yobbo said… and at any rate, though AQ are a “loose” organisation, they are certainly more than a simple “brand”.

    And I don’t subscribe to the cultural relativism that that one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist, either… particularly when one commits mass murder and is OPPOSED to individual freedom.

  16. Of course direct DDOSs on the government sites is counter-productive and will be chased by the AFP.

    Perhaps it is counter productive. However perhaps it will provoke a response from the government that is counter productive to the governments cause. Isn’t it merely an online form of civil disobedience?

    It is worth noting however that most DDOS attacks rely on the illicit use of a large number of hacked computers belonging to innocent third parties. So it may in some ways be viewed as a black hat rather than a gray hat activity. I’m more impressed by those that engineer ways around government filters. In one sense filters are merely another form of interference and a challenge to be engineered out.

  17. “yes thanks Fleeced and Yobbo – I was aware of that, hence my ‘no moral comparison’ qualifier.”

    Why bring it up at all then? It’s just a Godwin.

  18. A Godwin? you mean like Grech’s alleged email?

    Or do you mean Godwin’s Law? That specifically has to be an inappropriate reference to either Hitler or the Nazis. al-Qaeda doesn’t count.

    In any case there was a point in there somewhere. While they are clearly not terrorists or evil killers like AQ, Anon’s methods of organisation and communication seems a bit similar to AQ’s. It’s not AQ’s org structure that I find evil, it’s their aims, cause and actions. In fact their org structure is about the only non-evil thing about them.

    And no, I don’t subcribe to the ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ thing either. AQ can be described no other way.

    Hope that clears it up. Methinks I’ll avoid comparing anybody or anything to AQ ever again. Not even hairstyles 😉

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