It seems to present a paradox to use these kinds of tactics against a web site: you are denying them their free speech, and if you are willing to do that, how can you complain when others silence you?
It is an interesting issue; while I would defend the right of Netstrike to publish the necessary code to perform an DOS attack, it's clear that the people performing the attacks are not exercising free speech, nor are they performing sit-ins. With the exception of the few who are sitting in front of their browser, clicking refresh every 2 seconds, there is no statement to running a program and then going to get a soda... it's nothing more than sabotage. A real sit-in involves great sacrifice, a cyber sit-in does not.
If I were to build a robot and write "murder code" into it that would send it out and kill people, I would be at fault and would not be able to use the "code is free speech" defense. Once that code is executed, action is taken, and the actions (whether they be a computer performing a DOS or a robot running around killing people) can be causally traced directly to me.
Aside from the issue of giving instructions versus actually carrying out an attack, there is a more fundamental rights issue: while nearly everyone believes in individual rights such as free speech, many of us object to giving such rights to artificial persons, namely corporations, and sometimes the quasi-governmental form that many corporations take.
I recall a quote, I think from Socrates, saying something about how the only valid speech is backed up with blood. I agree with his deliniation, but tend to disagree with his conclusion. In my opinion, free speech is never a bad thing; I'm glad that you have it, I'm glad that I have it, I'm glad that nike has it, I'm glad that greenpeace has it, and I'm frustrated that netstrike does not seem to have it. As far as I can tell, this issue is broken down into the following groups:
Netstrike Publishers (the people who made the website and wrote the basic code)
Netstrike Followers/DOSers (people who perform the attacks)
Website Netstrike DOSers are attacking (site being attacked)
There is no question that the Publishers (a bloodless organization) should be able to publish their code and make their website. I defend their right to publish what they want, just as I defend my own right to make a site with the basic code to DOS Netstrike's website.
The (bloody) DOSers have no free speech defense, and are the equivalent of those who build and execute the code on the murderous robots. If the DOSers want to take this action and perform the attack, they should be prepared for (and even welcome) the punishment they receive for making a statement by taking illegal action.
The website being attacked (a bloodless organization) cannot use a free speech defense against Netstrike's Publishers, but can do so against the DOSers, who are the ones at fault.
I would not want to have to draw the line within that range as to where the collective speech of persons ends and the speech of non-human corporate entities begins, but I feel safe in saying that the giant multinationals, with their artificial personhood and their limited liability, are far on the other side of that line, wherever it lies, and therefore I do not consider getting them to shut the fuck up for one minute to be a violation of free speech.
How are Netstrike and Greenpeace (both bloodless organizations) different from AOL-Time Warner? I'll absolutely respect your viewpoint if and only if you're prepared to take free speech away from Greenpeace and Netstrike. All three are organizations made up of individuals, but (with the current exception of Netstrike) are allowed to free speech as an entity. If someone at AOL makes a slanderous or libelous statement, I would be in favor of punishing the person that made the statement, and maybe even punishing AOL for hiring that person, but I would do the same for an illegal action made by someone in Greenpeace or Netstrike. Even though AOL is a multinational, Greenpeace is, too. You seem to suggest that you see a difference between AOL and Greenpeace, but you're not prepared to draw it and you're sure AOL is over it. The only real line is the blood line between individual and organizational free speech.
Give it to all people with blood pumping through their veins... either give it to or take it away from all bloodless organizations. I'm in favor of giving it to all, regardless of blood.
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