Is DDoS free speech?

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by Quantum Windbag, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    This is something I have been thinking about for a while. For the non techies here who are not aware what dedicated denial of service (DDoS) is, it is essentially making a number of requests on a single webpage. The theory is that you eventually overwhelm the server that runs the webpage, causing it to be unavailable for anyone.

    While this is obviously inconvenient, and does cause monetary loss if the page targeted is a commerce site, it does not involve getting any information from the targeted site, and does not even gain unauthorized access to the computer. all it does is deny other people access to said site.

    Courts in Germany have actually ruled that a politically motivated DDoS attack is protected speech. Now a defendant in CA is making the same argument here.

    Lawyer For Accused: DDoS Is A Legal Form Of Protest | Techdirt

    I think he actually has a point. Either that, or Obama is guilty of a felony when he orders DDoS attacks on congressional switchboards.
     
  2. SmarterThanHick
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    SmarterThanHick Senior Member

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    no. these are not equivalent. you can physically occupy a space outside a store when protesting, but you cannot physically prevent people from entering the store. free speech means you can say that site sucks. it doesn't mean you can propagate malicious actions to take down a website. in fact that's not speech at all.
     
  3. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    It does not take down a website, it occupies the website so other people cannot get in.
     
  4. SmarterThanHick
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    SmarterThanHick Senior Member

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    and what is the practical difference?
     
  5. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    What is the practical difference between a picket line blocking access to a store and burning it to the ground?
     
  6. SmarterThanHick
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    SmarterThanHick Senior Member

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    picket lines cannot block access to a store. i mentioned this above. doing such is illegal.
     
  7. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    Theoretically I guess maybe. And as a point of clarification, it stands for Distributed Denial of Service.

    But the practical reality is it would nearly be impossible to launch a DDoS attack legally. It's typically done using thousands of hijacked computers, and hijacking computers is certainly illegal. Of course if you have your own network of 10 to 100 thousand computers, perhaps you could make a case that it's legal.
     
  8. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    That did not answer my question.
     
  9. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    Damn, why the fuck did I say dedicated?

    It does not have to use hijacked computers. PayPal suffered a DDoS attack when thousands of people around the world voluntarily tried accessing the website at the same time, and kept doing so. I am pretty sure the people that participated in that will have no problem arguing what they did was legal.

    Not sure about the guy in the story I linked to and how he did it, but they should be charging him for hacking the computers he used, if they can find them and prove it, not the site he really did no damage to.
     
  10. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    If you can get thousands of willing participants then it's perfectly legal, or at least should be.

    btw: The most notorious perpetrators of DDoS attacks is the Russian mafia that uses them to extort payoffs from online gaming and porn sites. Interpol estimates that up to 90% of these attacks go unreported as the sites simply decide it's cheaper and less hassle to simply pay the ransom.
     

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