back to article UK.gov braces for Anonymous hacklash

UK government websites have been warned to brace themselves for website attacks in the wake of the arrest of five Britons as part of an investigation into Anonymous this week. Members of the loosely knit Anonymous hacking collective condemned the arrests, arguing that denial of services attacks are a legitimate protest tactic, …

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Pirate

Political protest

Whilst it should be fairly obvious that attacking the websites of commercial entity such as Mastercard is going to come under the Computer misuse act I wonder if attacking government sites could be argued to be a legitimate political protest?

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Protest

While they may or may not believe their own statement, it is an interesting topic.

What normal right of protest can you make against an online organisation? I feel like DDoS /should/ be illegal (maybe just because I know the CMA says so), but I agree that everyone has the right to peaceful protest.

If the parallel is what happened to Top Shop and Vodafone for less than a day regarding their tax-evasion (surely just a Present Denial of Service?), then maybe I'm wrong to be against DDoS...

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Not protest

The difference between real life protests and internet protests is that real life protests have a tangible cost. A protest of fifty people requires fifty people to show up at the location.

A DDoS involves intangible things that can be reproduced trivially. A bunch of bored teenagers can DDoS a site. If these kids are manually refreshing a web page, then maybe you could call it a protest. But they're not. They can go to sleep and leave their computer to "protest" without any effort on their part.

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@PeteB

"I wonder if attacking government sites could be argued to be a legitimate political protest?"

It could not be. Legitimate political protest involves no crime. Deliberately impairing computer systems most certainly does not (Computer Misuse Act section 3).

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Flame

Hate to be the devil advocate here

A lot of legitimate political protests actually can fall under anything from Highway code (obstructing a public highway) to criminal code - nuissanse, assault, etc.

This one is a classic: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4627178.stm - Nuissance and obstruction combined.

However, in most democratic countries the rule of thumb is - if there is no damage and if it is absolutely clear what the protest is about, than do not prosecute. There is no rule of thumb for the Internet so far and the criminal code in its current form actually completely prohibits any form of protest. If you dump the Internet equivalent of a dead whale in front of the Japanese embassy website you are going to rot in jail for a while. If that does not apply for some reason you are going to get the libel legislation used to ensure you have no money for any protesting until you die.

Is that right? Dunno... Do not think so... We are going to end up conducting most of our business online one day so there should be an online "rulebook" of what is an allowed protest and what is not and for what the police is expected to prosecute. This may actually include leeway on some of the offences under the computer misuse and other parts of the penal code same as for "normal" protest. If we do not we will actually feed organisations like Anonymous instead of suppressing them.

So the end result is that we will have more and more damaging illegal protests instead of manageable legal ones which can be handled by technical means.

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Legitimate protest and crime

"Legitimate political protest involves no crime."

What on earth are you on about?

If the laws are bad then legitimate political protest can certainly involve crime as currently defined. Look at the civil rights and suffragettes movements. Look at all sorts of things.

I'm not saying it's the case here, but sometimes you have no choice but to break the law in order to make a legitimate protest.

Or are you one of those that thinks direct action is always wrong and that laws should be changed for the better through the democratic protest?

In which case.... ROFL. The very idea of democratic change for the better directed by the people! I've rarely heard anything so damned hilarious!

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Linux

Eh?

"This has since been circulated around many open source websites"

What? They are trying to blame open source for this? WTF!

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Anonymous Coward

Eh indeed

Blame open source probably not, more likely is they don't know what open source means and/or they think a collective of anonymous people can somehow be the same as/related to freely shared programming code.

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Re: Eh?

""This has since been circulated around many open source websites"

What? They are trying to blame open source for this? WTF!"

Did they say that? No, they stated a fact, namely citing a category of website where the data are to be found.

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eh indeed

"No, they stated a fact, a category of website where the data are to be found"

I think you're a little confused. There are no facts here - only some rather ignorant assumptions and utter confusion.

Please show me the multitude of 'open source' websites that the letter 'circulated' on.

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Stop

'open source' != 'open source software'

I believe they're referring to open source intelligence (OSINT), i.e. intelligence produced by analysing publicly available materials. They're not referring to open source software. Usage of the term 'open source' in this sense predates its use in software.

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Anonymous Coward

Open source

I find the government press release's implication that the open source movement is somehow implicated in these activities offensive.

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Anonymous Coward

Two things...

1) They don't mean open source, in terms of open source code, just that the software comes from sources which are open for anyone to use.

2) This is really an aside to the above, but: If I wanted to get a copy of LOIC, I'd go to sourceforge where the project is hosted. Sourceforge is open source in both senses of the expression. There is no implication that this means FOSS=BAD. You just have to look at how much FOSS is used by government - usually in back end systems - they're hardly likely to demonise their own systems.

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Black Helicopters

The 'Anonymous' statement does make another valid point....

that there seems to have been no effort made to find out who's been working to take down Wikileaks in similar DDoS attacks.

It could be, of course, that Plod have merely failed to communicate clearly the extent of their unceasing international efforts to bring these other miscreants to justice.

Or it could be that it's a lot easier to nick technologically naive teenagers mucking about with corporate sites than it is to get details of people doing DDoS attacks on anti-authority web sites.

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Nope

"that there seems to have been no effort made to find out who's been working to take down Wikileaks in similar DDoS attacks."

Well first wikileaks would have to go to the met and put in a complaint about the DDoSers and most likely submit lots of logs.

And somehow I doubt wikileaks would let 'da man' see the logs showing who has been accessing their website.

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WTF?

Whoa there are!

"This has since been circulated around many open source websites."

Hold on, what's this got to do with the penguin and its ilk?! So now if you run Linux, Apache, et. al, you're technically a terrorist? Typically stupid statement from technically illiterate UK Gov goons!

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Linux

Oh goody

I've always wanted to be a terrorist.

It will sit well alongside my illegal arms dealing, when I used to export 128bit encryption out of the US.

Linux icon, because today I can.

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Re: Whoa there are!

""This has since been circulated around many open source websites."

Hold on, what's this got to do with the penguin and its ilk?! So now if you run Linux, Apache, et. al, you're technically a terrorist? Typically stupid statement from technically illiterate UK Gov goons!"

Actually the goon is you, old bean. They merely cited a category of website where the material is to be found. You're the one drawing non sequitur conclusions. Hormone problem?

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@ Scorchio!!

While what you say is technically correct and they merely stated a category of website where such material is to be found, you must look deeper to understand the psychology involved. Was it merely stating that open source websites circulate this propaganda, or is it subtley trying to sow seeds in the minds of readers (knowing that the more gullible hacks will completely misunderstand this) to give them the impression that "open source = evil"? And while we are at it, it would be nice for a list of said "open source websites" to be provided because I'm having trouble imagining that planetsourcecode and sourceforge (etc) would be a willing host to declarations of war from a hacker group against a bunch of governmental miscreants who obviously want to test if their web server is suitably hardened.

Well, I guess I might see the threat on an open source site if it was rewritten in Cobal or FORTRAN (come on, do it oldschool!). Otherwise...

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RE: @ Scorchio!!

"While what you say is technically correct....." Ah, I sense another one of those "yes that's true and verifiable but I have an alternate reality view" moments coming from heyrick.....

".....you must look deeper to understand the psychology involved...." Which kinda hints that your own mental makeup really, really wants to think the worst possible about "The Man", and twist anything printed to "imply" whatever is the paranoid thought for the day amongst the handwringer groups.

Please, as a member of the what is called the "open source community" (which actually seems to be many communities, some inter-linked and communicating and others quite disparate), can I ask you to please quit with the "all governments view FOSS as evil", if only because I have contracted on Linux projects for more than one government.

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@ Matt Bryant

Before you consider my view to be an alternative reality (and thanks, I'll take that as a compliment ;-) ), why not try it? The open letter begins "Dear UK government, We are Anonymous". Google that phrase. Look at the results provided: pdfarchive, facebook, indymedia, rage3d.com forum, politicalfailblog. And in the immediate list of results, how many "open source" sites do you see listed?

This isn't to say that there is no open source site carrying the letter, however I believe that "This has since been circulated around many open source websites" would read a lot better, and more accurately, as "This has since been circulated around many forums and chat rooms".

While it is a bit foolish to kick "the Man" at every given opportunity (for therein lies the danger of tin foil hats), it is equally foolish to implicity trust. The governmental use of open source may be purely motivated by economics, both now (lack of licences) and future (not tied to the whims of a specific vendor). I'm not asking you to join my "alternative" view, I'm just asking that you open your eyes a little wider.

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Happy

the French for instance

so I hear, the gendarmes have Ubuntu installed

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Pirate

RE: @ Matt Bryant

"......why not try it?....I'm just asking that you open your eyes a little wider." Because I would have to actually squint to reduce my vision to your myopic viewpoint. I'd also have to forget a lifetime of real experiences (as opposed to your imagined conspiracies), overcome my innate ability to think for myself, and still not be stupid enough to fall for the Anonyputz line.

OK, admittedly I was young once (long, long ago, in a land time forgot, etc), and I too thought I knew better than "the establishment". Like all kids, I was convinced my generation discovered real sex, love, and the secret to peaceful co-existance (we even though our music was the pinnacle of excellence). All I wanted was for the old generation to get out of the way and let my generation run the World. I did my protests, saw beyond the masks of such political bodies as CND, and decided I'd actually best find out some "truths" for myself. I got out and saw the way the World really is, and got far too many real experiences to let me ever fall for the type of con job being peddled by Assange and co. Now, I'm part of the older generation, and I'm having to look at a new generation that seems just as convinced that they have all the answers when it is patently obvious they have as little a clue as I did at their age. Trust me, I hope you manage to get out and get some real experiences so maybe you'll too come to realise how silly you are being. Maybe you'll also find it easier to deal with the generation that follows yours, because you lot are currently just a pain in the neck.

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Pint

Life lessons...?

So there is no such thing as clever psychology to push a point that might be otherwise missed? Don't you know the Good Cop/Bad Cop cliché? How about items being punted by attractively underdressed females? Or how about a declaration of war from a group thought of as troublemakers being pushed around "open source" websites (somewhat less than accurate) as opposed to "forums" (somewhat more accurate). But, hey, believe what you will. Maybe I am tilting at imaginary windmills. I do notice I'm not the only one to spot this inaccuracy. So I try to look behind the words to understand the motivation. Mistake or agenda? Don't listen to me, make your own mind up!

Oh, and for what it is worth, please don't mistake me for somebody who supports Anonymous, or Assange. I am interested in Wikileaks for the fact that there have been too many lies and too many cover-ups by the major governments. Do we have trust in them? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Will airing some dirty little secrets help? Perhaps, perhaps not. It is an idea. A good one? A bad one? I think it says a lot about our society that something like Wikileaks turned up in the first place.

Three things I can say, for definite. 1. I don't like Assange. A man doing what he is doing shouldn't have an ego that size. I half expect him to turn up to his next interview wearing a Superman outfit. Or maybe Batman, the "caped crusader". Whatever, it isn't important. 2. Nor are suggestions of "megaleaks". Either the info is there, or it isn't. Going all "oooh, this is gonna hurt baaaaad!" is, frankly, a bit pathetic. 3. And the final thing? Anonymous are straying into Epic Fail territory with their denial of service plans. It means exactly diddly-squat. You see, fourteen hundred thousand computers bringing uk.gov to its knees is not a protest. It is just a bunch of possibly hijacked computers firing off packets. Whoo. We might get an article about it in El Reg (concentrating more on the attack vector than who&why). You want a protest, how about fourteen hundred thousand actual real living people (though in these days of rampant apathy, I'd settle for zombies) standing around the streets of London waving placards. THAT is a protest. That might carry some weight. That might make the world headlines. That might bring about change.

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FAIL

Or....

They could take the normal route which is to submit a formal complaint, start a petition, rouse support from those affected / interested, create an Independant Party, get into the HoC and start fixing the problems in the system that way.

People that try to say 'DDOS is a legitimate way of protesting online' are the same people that say 'Films / music should be free online'. Both arguments are full of crap.

Denying a service, (Read the denying bit there) is preventing others from using that service which infringes on their rights just as downloading an illegal copy of a song for free is straight, black and white, theft.

They should also pay more attention to what's really happening with Assange / Wikileaks (Million dollar book rights, donations & financial support, attempts to sue the Guardian for.... Leaking...- He's not the White Knight in this scenario at all...)

Anyone that goes on 4chan will know most of them are uneducated muppets that think child porn and general abuse / nastiness is acceptable.

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Anonymous Coward

/b/ != 4chan

"Anyone that goes on 4chan will know most of them are uneducated muppets that think child porn and general abuse / nastiness is acceptable."

That's certainly true of /b/, but some of the other boards are full of pretty good discussion.../v/ for instance has fairly serious computer games threads.

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Denied!

"Denying a service, (Read the denying bit there) is preventing others from using that service which infringes on their rights just as downloading an illegal copy of a song for free is straight, black and white, theft."

Not sticking up for them as taking anything down that others rely upon is wrong but... Staging a physical protest outside a shop would generally do the same thing. People would not normally go in to in theory it could be argued this way. Physical protests also jam streets (which we should be able to use etc.) and other things.

It is a point that needs more clarification. How do you tell a peaceful protest in this manner from a malicious attack? To take the physical analogy peaceful would be people outside said shop encouraging people not to enter whilst malicious would be blowing it up or driving a car into it.

Perhaps a way of clarifying this would be if it denies all access or just slows the site down.

Friday afternoon ramblings ahoy.

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Re: Or

"They could take the normal route which is to submit a formal complaint, start a petition, rouse support from those affected / interested, create an Independant Party, get into the HoC and start fixing the problems in the system that way."

You're so naive it's almost child-like.

How cute.

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If peaceful protest worked

They'd make that illegal too!

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Re: (Err)Or...

"Denying a service...." etc.

You do realise that going on strike denies the employer from making a service, do you not? And that marching the streets may impact on the availability of shops? And, gosh, perhaps all that linking arms with handcuffs in buried concrete pipes, etc to block construction sites, access to infrastructure, etc might deny services too. And what about trucks driving slowly in the fuel protest?

Say what you can about 4chan muppets - it does not detract from the fact that denial of service is well established as a form of civil disobedience type protesting.

But lets take your suggestions:

Complaints - Easily ignored

Petitions - Still ignored (petitions.gov.uk?!)

Rouse support - To have little meetings that are also ignored

Independent party - With our FPTP voting system? Please...

There's a reason there's a long history of direct action protest.

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Re: Re: (Err)Or...

Pissing about with someone else's equipment is an altogether different matter. It is in breach of law. People will be convicted for it. You'll see.

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RE: Re: (Err)Or...

".....You do realise that going on strike denies the employer from making a service...." In that case, you have a direct contract with the employer, and you have the right to strike and protest your pay/conditions as long as you do so within employment and civil laws. Should you strike illegally then the employer can go to the courts to have your strike declared illegal, which then gives the employer the rights to fire or discipline the illegal strikers, just as employees have the rights to bring a case against an employer that is operating outside the law (e.g., not paying minimum wage or not supplying the required safety equipment). DDoSing a commercial or government site is a completely different case entirely, so your comparisson is moot.

"....And what about trucks driving slowly in the fuel protest?...." Where the Police judged that the drivers' actions were in breach of traffic law they were stopped and charged, but the reality is there is no minimum speed requirement for public highways, otherwise caravans would be in a heap of the smelly stuff. However, there are laws against misuse of computers, which is what DDoSing is.

"....it does not detract from the fact that denial of service is well established as a form of civil disobedience type protesting....." No, it is not well established at all, it is rare as a form of political protest, but it was a widely used tactic amongst criminal gangs trying to exrtort money from online companies, hence why the laws exist.

"....Complaints - Easily ignored.... Petitions - Still ignored (petitions.gov.uk?!)....Rouse support - To have little meetings that are also ignored...." When the volume is small becuase your ideas have little practical support. If your ideas had true widespread support amongst the electorate then politicians would sit up and take notice because their jobs depend on it. All you have done is illustrate the tiny minority that support your actions and/or point of view.

".....Independent party - With our FPTP voting system? Please....." Yes, it's called democracy, also known as the will of the majority. If your ideas are such hokum that you cannot raise even a percent of the populance to support you then it should be a very indicator to you that you are talking male bovine manure.

"......There's a reason there's a long history of direct action protest." There's also a long list of minority groups that tried to force their views on the majority by direct action, such as the Animal Liberation Front and CND, and they usually fail. We still have hamburgers and Trident. It's that democracy thing - no matter how much you think your idea is The Unvarnished Truth, unless you can convince a large portion of the electorate to your beliefs then you're wasting your time. Should you get upset at the lack of support and go for "direct action" and commit a criminal act, all you will do is portray yourself to that majority as criminals and further erode any support. The Anonyputzs should have stuck to themes that had support amongst many, such as their attacks on the Scientologists, but now they just look like petulant skiddies being led by the nose by the self-serving Assange.

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WTF?

Legitimate form of protest? What?

A DDoS attack results in massive collateral damage to the targets provider and other customers of that provider. In extreme cases it can result against a denial of service against other customers of the attackers provider too, as well as those in between.

How much disruption to other people in completely unrelated places is acceptable?

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@ Matt Bryant

"No, it is not well established at all, it is rare as a form of political protest," Maybe he is French? It seems barely a month goes by that somebody here isn't out on strike for something. But, then, the ability to withhold your services in order to defend your conditions of work is something that is codified (in a complicated way) into the Code du Travail [union backed, not wildcat]

"Yes, it's called democracy, also known as the will of the majority." Oh, that's cute. Don't forget the so-called democracy allows a voter to choose the *local* candidate for which party will represent them in their locality. All of this is added up to determine which party shall prevail (or <cough> not) in Westminster. And the leader of the party? The ideas guy who shapes the view of the party and influences the direction of the country? Ummm... Yeah. Unlike numerous other western countries, the British voter didn't get a tick-box for "David Cameron" (etc). Then there's the Scottish problem of what powers Holyrood has vs Westminster. The UK has a constitution of sorts, but nothing is codified in one place. But then under British law, the government has supremacy, thus even if there was a constitution there would be no grounds for arguing that a new law is "unconstitutional". The best we have is to say that it would be contrary to agreed EU legislature. But even that can be ignored - retained DNA samples being an example. Oh, and incidentally the voter turnout for recent UK elections has been around two thirds. Democracy can be decided by a mere third of the populace. Does this represent a majority, or only those who bothered to get up off their asses and vote?

That said, what do Anon think they are going to achieve screwing with government servers? "Oooh yes, we crashed www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk, oooh, oooh". Yeah. Right... They do understand, don't they, that the arrested members were arrested because what those people did is considered illegal under British law? If Anon want to do something useful, why don't they fight the extradition of Gary McKinnon? Or is it better to big it up and provide a warning from "the citizens of the world". How could they write that with a straight face? There is some truth in their letter, but is DDoS the protest for the new millennium? <yawn>

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@ Matt Bryant

Although you do have a couple of good points within your post, I find the views one-sided and rather authoritarian.

Let us start with this:

QUOTE: ".....Independent party - With our FPTP voting system? Please....." Yes, it's called democracy, also known as the will of the majority. If your ideas are such hokum that you cannot raise even a percent of the populance to support you then it should be a very indicator to you that you are talking male bovine manure.

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The point is that even if your ideas can raise a percent of votes within the UK populace, you will not gain a seat in parliament. 1% equates to about 6 seats, but you will be unlikely to gain even one, unless all your support is concentrated in a few constituencies. This is the reason for the unfairness of the FPTP system, and is the reason smaller parties, though having a fair amount of support from the voters, have no say in parliament. So what is the point of starting your own party?

By the way, this would probably not change even under the AV system. We would need a real PR system to redress this.

QUOTE: "......There's a reason there's a long history of direct action protest." There's also a long list of minority groups that tried to force their views on the majority by direct action, such as the Animal Liberation Front and CND, and they usually fail. We still have hamburgers and Trident. It's that democracy thing - no matter how much you think your idea is The Unvarnished Truth, unless you can convince a large portion of the electorate to your beliefs then you're wasting your time. Should you get upset at the lack of support and go for "direct action" and commit a criminal act, all you will do is portray yourself to that majority as criminals and further erode any support. The Anonyputzs should have stuck to themes that had support amongst many, such as their attacks on the Scientologists, but now they just look like petulant skiddies being led by the nose by the self-serving Assange.

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While I agree that some groups go too far, any member of the public should have the right to protest against that which he feels is unjust, whether a large group with thousands of people's support, or just you on your own.

All protests, even peaceful protests, cause some form of damage. If a group of protesters congregates outside a supermarket, protesting their use of battery-farmed chickens, it causes damage to:

* The supermarket, in lost custom, damaged reputation etc

* The UK Government, in the form of policing costs

* Nearby businesses, once again from lost custom

* Other citizens trying to use the area, who will at least be impeded in trying to access the supermarket.

Yet this is an accepted form of protest.

A DDoS could be thought of in the same way. Yes, there will be collateral damage, but the main aim is to prevent access to a particular server. It may cause problems for other sites, but it should not cause permanent damage (on it's own), and can be seen in the same light. (N.B., I am not saying I agree, just that it could be seen in this light)

However, back to a specific point you made:

"unless you can convince a large portion of the electorate to your beliefs then you're wasting your time"

Whether or not this is true could be debated, but the fact is it shouldn't be the case.

Most people do not care either way about anything which does not directly affect them, or at least not enough to do anything about it. But if 1 person in the entire country supports an idea, and nobody opposes it, then why should that person's view be ignored? That person's idea is as valid as anyone else's, and without opposition should be viewed as a strong case (100% of people with an opinion about it are in favour).

Peacefull protest is a legitimate way to publicise your idea, and should be allowed. Without it, it would be very easy for governments to hide opposition to their ideas, and present a face of country wide support for a widely unpopular idea.

Oh, one last thing:

"The Anonyputzs should have stuck to themes that had support amongst many, such as their attacks on the Scientologists, but now they just look like petulant skiddies being led by the nose by the self-serving Assange."

Not only is this a very authoritarian (or even fascist) point of view in my oppinion, but the way you have worded it does not portray you in a very good light. When a debate deteriorates to name-calling and personal attacks, it has lost it's way. I am not saying you are wrong, but you damage your own side of the argument with comments such as these.

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RE: @ Matt Bryant

".....Maybe he is French?...." I'm not surprised a sensible point of view is foreign to you, in fact yours seems so alien to logic I'd have to label you not French but a space cadet.

"....It seems barely a month goes by that somebody here isn't out on strike for something...." Ah, I suspect in your naivety you forgot about a certain union puppet called Ed getting the Labour leadership? Ever wonder why the NUS is pushing students out to protest? Ed Milliband needs to make Cameron have a hard time so his buddies in the unions are striking like there's no tomorrow. Strangely, they are striking over exactly the same conditions and/or cuts they would have to have faced if Labour had won the election, and in many cases pay/conditions that existed under Broooon when the unions were quieter than church mice. If you didn't foresee union "disquiet" in the event of a Tory victory then it just highlights your lack of experience in UK politics.

".....Unlike numerous other western countries, the British voter didn't get a tick-box for "David Cameron"...." Since I'm asuming you're only old enough to have witnessed the one election (did your Dad take you along to the booth with him?), I'll point something out you would have noticed if you had seen a few more elections - on the ballot were lots of local candidates, all from different parties. LibDems, Labour, Tory, Greens, all types of independents and protest groups. If your idiocy had enough support then you could field candidates in as many burroughs as you like and actually uspet the political status quo (it's been done before, the original two political parties in the UK being the Tories and the Liberals, with Labour coming much later). But, your own dismissal of this idea is indicative of your own subconcious acknowledgement that your ideas will never gain popularity, if only because you realise they are just the technological "thrill-ride" of skiddies with PCs and too much time on their hands.

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RE: @ Matt Bryant (Dr Mouse)

".....The point is that even if your ideas can raise a percent of votes within the UK populace, you will not gain a seat in parliament...." Three things you missed. Firstly, you could deliberately target seats with a wafer majority, so that politicians standing in the area may have to adopt your proposals to ensure they gain enough votes. Secondly, you if you had a real grievance that did have public ressonance, you could hype it like crazy as a one-policy candidate with the intent of painting the incumbent as the cause of the issue (think Martin Bell). Thirdly, if you were really commited (rather than just playing at politics from Mom's basement) and had widespread support amongst the youth vote, you could copy the NUS and encourage students to move and register in such wafer burroughs to help boost your local support. After all, students are probably the most easily led social group, always up for a bit of mild revolution and "sticking it to the Man", as shown by the recent student protests (IIRC, a BBC straw poll of students at one of the Whitehall protests found most couldn't even explain the cuts they were protesting!). Our electoral system is just that, a system, and therefore can be gamed just like any system.

".....any member of the public should have the right to protest against that which he feels is unjust...." Agreed, I have no problem with anyone protesting whatever they like, as long as they do so within the law. What annoys me is when they come on these forums and sprout their silliness without a thought, and then get upset when challenged on the veracity of their drivel.

"......Yet this is an accepted form of protest...." You conveniently forgot to mention that, as long as the protestors had gone through the right procedures such as registering their protest and completing a safety review, they were acting within the law. The laws around protests do not seek to stop the target being "damaged", they just make sure that the "damage" is done legally. ALF protesters marching on an agreed protest route around a supermarket chain HQ is legal, regardless of the loss of business to the chain. ALF nutters setting bomb under lab technicains' cars is illegal. Not hard to follow.

".....Whether or not this is true could be debated, but the fact is it shouldn't be the case....." Sorry, but that's just the get-out clause of all anarchists and extremeists - "what I'm doing is for your own good and you'd know that if only you weren't so oppressed/stupid". Who are you to tell me or anyone else what is right for the majority when you have not been appointed to do so by that same majority? If you cannot convince us to follow your point of view then you will have to accept that.

"....Most people do not care either way about anything which does not directly affect them, or at least not enough to do anything about it....." Ever heard of Band Aid? At most, only a tiny fraction of the people in the US or UK or most other countries that contributed were directly affected by the suffering in Ethiopia, but look what was achieved by a small group of people who decided they wanted to make a difference, legally. Sorry, but if you can't be bothered to really do something inside the law becasue you don't think it will succeed, then it just shows your own lack of faith in the popularity of your ideals.

".....Not only is this a very authoritarian (or even fascist) point of view....." <Yawn> What a surprise, the standard squeal of the supporter of a politically fashionable viewpoint when they run out of arguments - "you're a fascist!" Please, try much harder.

".....When a debate deteriorates to name-calling and personal attacks, it has lost it's way...." Erm, didn't you just call me a fascist? Way to admit your own failure! I'm guessing you're an Anonysucker, and you're sulking at the fact that people aren't jumping up and down in delight at your pranks.

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@ Matt Bryant

Most of your points are well made, and I even agree with most of them. But I must point out, I did not call you a fascist. I said that particular comment was authoritarian. I should probably not even have mentioned it, although I was merely pointing out that it bordered on a fascist point of view, in my own personal opinion.

Added to which, I so not see it as a personal attack. Even true fascists are both entitled to their opinion and entitled to voice that opinion.

And no, I am not part of Anonymous, and for the most part I disagree with their methods. I was merely standing up for the right to protest and the right to hold a set of beliefs, even if you are in the minority, which your previous post seemed to be outright against.

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@ Matt Bryant

Oh, one more thing:

'Sorry, but that's just the get-out clause of all anarchists and extremeists - "what I'm doing is for your own good and you'd know that if only you weren't so oppressed/stupid"'

This is not what I was saying. Your previous post seemed to imply that people were "wasting their time" holding to beliefs unless they could convince a majority to support their ideals. This should not be the case. Everyone is entitled to both hold to beliefs and to try to convince others, should they choose to, so long as it is done correctly. As I said, if one person feels strongly about something, and nobody opposes it, why should their view be disregarded?

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@Dr Mouse

>>"As I said, if one person feels strongly about something, and nobody opposes it, why should their view be disregarded?"

Are you assuming that the thing is something other people have actually had time to consider?

There's a pretty big gap between 'I've thought about it and I don't care either way' and 'I haven't made up my mind' or 'I haven't really thought about it'.

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FAIL

RE: @ Matt Bryant - part 1

"......although I was merely pointing out that it bordered on a fascist point of view, in my own personal opinion...." So, in your opinion, I'm a borderline fascist? Nice distinction! Is that meant to imply I'm only likley to presecute gays, gypsies, Jews, Communists and only possibly invade Poland? Puh-lease, any time someone throws the fascist tag into a discussion it is meant to convey "you are an evil person of low moral character equivalent to a Nazi", it's simply a too emotionally-charged accusation. Your attempt to backpedal by saying it was only an opinion and "borderline" is just added comedy. Your mask slipped, your emotions ran away with you, and you couldn't help but use the term.

".....I so not see it as a personal attack...." Hmmm, I bet if I go ask a straw poll of peeps on the street "Would you like to be called a fascist?" the overwhelming response would be "No!"

"......Even true fascists are both entitled to their opinion and entitled to voice that opinion....." All a nice attempt to denigrate my arguments by trying to tar me as a fascist. All because you failed to defend your own viewpoint. I think I'll just state that, in my opinion, you must be a borderline child-molester. After all, it's just an opinion, no-one would think ill of you just because I might suggest you have paadophillic tendecies....

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FAIL

RE: @ Matt Bryant - part 2

".....Your previous post seemed to imply that people were "wasting their time" holding to beliefs unless they could convince a majority to support their ideals....." Actually, what I was trying to hammer into your thick skull was the idea that if at first you don't succeed with the legal avenues, try harder rather than just resorting to criminal acts. Even Ghandi had to overcome both apathy and the initial unpopularity of his ideas with many Indians, and he ended up gaining independence for a whole nation. When people started going on about Green issues back in the Eighties they were painted as left-over hippies by the media and politicians, yet now you it's hard to find a politician not willing to talk Green or a media eager to distribute Al Gore's latest waffling.

Double fail in two posts!

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WTF?

Really?

"A declaration of war" - way to ratchet up the hyperbole chaps.

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Joke

@Really?

Pfft, thats nothing, the hyperbole generator goes up to 11, don'tcherknow.

Next week it'll be something like "People invloved in DDoS attacks also proven to rape you whilst you sleep! In your own bed!"

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Unhappy

War.

This means you can dispense with normal criminal justice and just shoot them all instead.

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WTF?

Open source

I've been looking but can't seem to find a source for the "This has since been circulated around many open source websites" quote, as I'd like to formally complain about it. Could someone point me in the direction as to where this bit of drivel came from?

As an aside, the Scotland Yard statement you linked to has this at the bottom of the page:

"IMPORTANT NOTE: This site is for the use of media organisations only.

Media organisations should not publish links to this site."

Oops.

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weaselwords...

Shoulda woulda coulda... I'm pretty sure you can publish that link as much as you want, you merely 'shouldn't' pass it on,..

I guess much like everyone on this forum should give me 10 quid each.

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Out of cheese error

Media organisations should not publish links to this site."

Oops.

El Reg practising civil disobedience.

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Anonymous Coward

Job creation

Prosecuting hackers is a good means to create jobs and get scum off the streets. I say prosecute them all. It's good for everyone except the perps.

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Stop

BANKSTERS FIRST!

And that is all! :)

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