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Italian Site, NetStrike.it shutdown

By gampid in MLP
Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 01:11:08 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The italian site, netstrike.it has been shutdown by the police. The site advocates a tactic of protest where by many users 'slashdot' an offending site using a java applet. NetStrike claims that they offer educational information and that their tactics are legal.


The Netstrike.it domain name has been redirected to a server in the netherlands, contrast.org which specializes in hosting banned political websites. Apparently the Italians haven't figured out that you need to take the domain name and not just turn off the server.

According to reports in the Italian press this is just the first of a list of sites connected to the Genoa G8 protests they plan to shut down.

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Poll
Should 'netstrike' type sites be allowed?
o Yes, it's free speech 31%
o No, it should be illegal 5%
o No, those anarchists should rot in jail 8%
o I don't know 8%
o It's just like any other DOS 44%

Votes: 69
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o netstrike. it
o contrast.o rg
o Also by gampid


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Italian Site, NetStrike.it shutdown | 18 comments (14 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Free speech (4.50 / 10) (#1)
by enterfornone on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 07:31:29 PM EST

I'm pro-free speech so I'm reluctant to advocate the taking down of a web site. But it's a bit hippocritical to use a free speech argument in defence of a site that advocates removing other people's rights to free speech.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
I agree, it's tricky.... (3.50 / 4) (#2)
by gampid on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 07:34:26 PM EST

They don't actually launch attacks from the netstrike site, but they do provide code and instructions on how to do the attacks. They also don't aim to permently take down sites, but to overload them for a period of a few hours. The point is to bring attention to the policies of the organizations behind the website they are targeting.

Protest.Net: Seizing the means of communication!
[ Parent ]

But how does it accomplish that? (5.00 / 5) (#8)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 01:38:33 AM EST

This form of protest (I'm tempted to put protest in quotes, but I won't) has several fundemental problems. The first, and most important, is that it doesn't transmit any message itself, people are more likely to assume it's random network trouble than a political statement. Those launching this type of protest need to get the word out to those not already committed to the cause, and that could prove difficult. The second is that it's a bona fide DOS attack, people don't like DOS attacks, and as efn said, it censors the other guy.

[ Parent ]
In the event of Conflict... (4.33 / 3) (#4)
by ti dave on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 09:38:33 PM EST

IMHO, verbal speech and written text trump "actions as speech".

It is somewhat of a sticky wicket though...

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Hehe (4.50 / 4) (#3)
by xriso on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 09:33:46 PM EST

The police are just protesting against netstrike.it.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
Devil in the Instructions (3.25 / 4) (#5)
by CheSera on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 10:53:56 PM EST

This is a good example of the thin line between free speech and action. The site (as I understand it) advocates and instructs. It does not actually act. Now if the maintainers of the site can be proven to use malicious software against a site then yes, they should be punished. Just like a bomb, its not illegal to post the instructions on how to build one, but it sure is illegal to use one.


============
**TATDOMAW**
============

however (4.50 / 4) (#7)
by enterfornone on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 11:59:26 PM EST

If you advocate anti-free speech activities, should you have the right to complain when people restrict your free speech?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
The subject should be optional in a reply (4.50 / 2) (#12)
by davidduncanscott on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 12:03:22 PM EST

Just like a bomb, its not illegal to post the instructions on how to build one, but it sure is illegal to use one.
Depending on circumstances, this is true under the laws of the US and a number of other places, but I wouldn't presume it to be true under Italian law. The US has a fairly extreme view of freedom of speech, and many of the (for lack of a better term) "Western democracies" draw the line much further in.

And of course even here you may find yourself in trouble, not for publishing the instructions per se but as an accomplice or somesuch (INAL) if those instructions are used. In other words, you may not be subject to censorship, but you may be held responsible for the consequences of your speech.

[ Parent ]

How I would justify using these tactics. (4.33 / 12) (#9)
by elenchos on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 02:20:10 AM EST

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?

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. When you shut down a corporate media outlet, I don't see that as being the same as silencing an individual. Ideally, the news media should speak for a great many individuals, but in reality they speak only for a self-serving, self-perpetuating corporate entity. Many of us who feel ethically bound to respect individual rights feel that it was a terrible mistake to give person-hood to corporations, and feel no qualms about using "violence" or "rights violations" against them. "They" are not human, they are an abstraction that have falsely and mistakenly been given rights and powers that only a human being should have.

What about the stockholders? They do not speak through the corporations they own. If they want to say something, let them say it. Let them put up ten million web sites saying they agree with Exxon-Mobil or Time Warner-AOL. They didn't buy some stock to express themselves, they bought it merely to see a profit, with virtually no regard for the human consequences. Morally, for me, that is the flip side of the other corporate fiction: limited liability. Since the investors take no responsibility for the corporations they own, why should I worry about their supposed rights being expressed by corporate proxy? So, no, the stockholders' speech rights are not being violated either.

There is a continuum between a single person speaking and several people speaking as a group, and a huge corporation speaking for itself. 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.

They are not people, and they have no rights that I recognize.

Hey! Read this. That is all.

Why would this only happen to corps? (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by garbanzo on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 12:13:23 PM EST

If it can happen to one, it can happen to anyone. This is why the ACLU finds itself defending the KKK. To be honest, it is much more likely that a large corporation will have the resources to fight this sort of attack. An individual, on the other hand, will probably find their ISP account discontinued because they are being shouted down. Why aren't anti-Klan protesters trying this against hate sites? Seems to me they are more vulnerable and more venomous than a giant corporation. Of course, they are also more likely to retaliate--physically--if they can find your ass, so let's be careful out there.




sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
The real issue: blood. (3.66 / 3) (#17)
by Anatta on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 01:45:25 PM EST

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.
My Music
[ Parent ]

Two differences. (none / 0) (#18)
by elenchos on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 08:59:03 PM EST

One, artificial personhood. Two, limited liability.

These legal fictions are what give Nike "rights." And those are what I don't reccoginze. I would not want to silence a hate site, because that falls under my definition of free speech. It is a right that human beings enjoy, and Nike is not a human being. It no more has rights than a coffee cup or a picture of a person or an idea. Nike is a thing that does not feel, think or do any of the things that make me respect rights. I respect your rights because you are a person like me, but I consider it my option to use tactics against corporations that would be rights violations if they were used against people. (I am not addressing whether or not this tactic would actually work -- it might actually alienate the public, or fail for many other reasons. I am only talking about the principle of using "rights abuses" against non-humans.)

So when you talk about "murder code" or when you blur the line between a corporation and a group of individuals not hiding behind limited liability and artificial personhood, you are just re-stating the very point that we disagree about. I make a sharp distinction between them and us. Or do we disagree?

You say that you would punish an individual at AOL who made a slanderous statment? So then do you recognize limitied liability? If I pay a guy $50 to beat someone up, I am guilty too. If a corporate investor pays to have the same thing done (oil companies in Indonesia for example), the investor washes his hands of it. He has nothing at stake but his investment. Hence, how can this irresponsible entitiy that takes investor money and goes out and monkeys with my life and others' lives be respected as a rights-holder? What about greenpeace and netsrike? GreenpeaceUSA actually is a corporation. If they were doing evil, I guess I would say they should look out. I think being a non-profit is a worthwhile consideration here, and especially that they get their freedom to act through individual contributions that are relatively small, and are most importantly, they are made because individuals support their goals. That is much different than just wanting to see a financial return and not wanting to be bothered with the details.

So again, they might be in a gray area, but Nike is definitely not.

Hey! Read this. That is all.
[ Parent ]

What the police should of done... (4.75 / 4) (#10)
by willie on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 10:31:37 AM EST

is used the java applet to take down netstrike. Now that would be irony.

confused (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by core10k on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 01:10:37 PM EST

Someone's confused; there's no way that site is responsible for fuck all if they used a Java applet - applets can't connect to any computer other than the originating server, without the user voluntarily accepting a signed certificate. And if the applet used a signed certificate, the writeup for this article should have mentioned it; to do otherwise it to slander Java's security model.

[ Parent ]
Italian Site, NetStrike.it shutdown | 18 comments (14 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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