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An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

10 December 2010

Online freedom of speech activists continue to campaign against companies that have declined to do business with WikiLeaks. Companies such as Mastercard and Visa have said that WikiLeaks failed to comply with their terms and conditions. Activists feel that these companies have in fact bowed to anti-WikiLeaks pressure.

The LOIC bot tool, through which distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are carried out, has been downloaded more than 31,000 times. DoS attacks have been an offence since 2006, under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, as is supplying or obtaining a programme for use in such an attack. But this does not necessarily deter participants. As well as causing business interruption, DDoS attacks can result in serious data security problems – see the example of ACS:Law.

In the past, conventional wisdom might suggest disassociating yourself from such a controversial enterprise as WikiLeaks. But with collective movements taking advantage of strength and relative anonymity in numbers online, will companies now consider the wider picture before acting – or just get better protection?

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