Anonymous strikes again. This time the target of this loose coalition of online hackers is the site of Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI). A DDoS attack hit the site late last night, forcing BMI to take the site offline. As of this posting, it is still not available. This attack is part of what Anonymous calls the "war on copyright".
Communication technology has long been commonplace in political protest movements. American colonists used committees of correspondence and broadsheets to voice displeasure and organize against the British. Fax machines were used by opponents of the North American Free Trade Agreement. And cell phone-initiated smart mobs are thought to have played a role in the downfall of Philippines’ president Joseph Estrada. How far such efforts might go are limited only by the availability of technology and the imagination of participants.
Consider the most recent use: an adaptation of Google Docs and Google Maps to organize virtual protests. The responsible parties are from Turkey, and are protesting Turkey’s draconian Internet censorship policies. The Turkish government tolerates dissent much like the Chinese, and blocks sites deemed offensive, including YouTube, Last.fm, and Google Sites (formerly Google Pages).
Opponents are responding by using a Google map of Istanbul, which can be edited using Google Docs’ “anyone can edit” function. Protesters are asked to ‘meet up’ in Taksim Square. And, upon reaching a critical mass, they will perform a virtual walk to the Turkish capital of Ankara, bringing their protest to the parliament house. (The current map shows ‘protesters’ moving eastward from Istanbul along highway E80, about a quarter of the way to their destination.)
For the organizers the more, the merrier. They'd like to reach a total of one billion protestors, in the hopes this will persuade Turkish officials to roll back their censorship. Jolie O’Dell, writing for ReadWriteWeb, is optimistic “this seemingly simple stunt will send a strong message to governments that restrict their citizens’ web access.” I’m not so sure. It’s one thing for government officials to look down upon a sea of real protesters and another entirely on a sea of virtual protesters. The former can’t be easily ignored. The latter can be easily unplugged.
After next week, Oracle's $7.4 billion roller-coaster ride will finally come to an end, as there remains little doubt that the European Commission will approve the company's acquisition of Sun Microsystems. With that being the case, protesters from the MySQL community have all but given up the battle in Europe and are now turning their attention to regulators in Russia and China, ITNews.com reports.
"The European Commission showed courage and competence during most of the investigation but looked very weak in the end," said MySQL founder Michael 'Monty' Widenius in a statement on Monday, adding that China and Russia "are powerful, self-confident, and open-source friendly countries and they have every right to do a better job on this than the EU."
Both nations are still investigating the deal and have yet to give Oracle the green light. So far, Widenius' helpmysql.org campaign has managed to attract 600 supporters in China and over 800 in Russia. On a global scale, the campaign stands at 30,000 signatures strong since its launch on December 28.
We're not sure if this is just an excuse to dress up as pirates and wave the Jolly Roger in a public setting (and admit it, you've wanted to do this since the first time you rode Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride as a child), but a band of Swedish 'pirates' marched in protest of the Stockholm district court scalawags who issued a guilty verdict in the Pirate Bay trial. Pirate Bay's founders -- Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundstrom -- were each sentenced to walk the plank one year in jail and ordered to be pay 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) in damages to several major media companies following the ruling on Friday.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets led by Sweden's Pirate Party, a political organization which supports free file sharing for noncommercial use, many of which could be seen wearing bandannas and other pirate-attire. The party said it's membership shot up 20 percent to about 20,000 after the verdict was announced.
"The establishment and the politicians have delcared war against our whole generation," said Rickard Falkvinge, party Chairman and founder.
While unconfirmed, we hear that several court officials, fearful the protest might turn physical, made a clean getaway after someone distracted the crowd by shouting out, "Look behind you, a three-headed monkey!"
PETA has decided – in a nutshell – to grief a bunch of WoW players because they’ve taken to bonking adorable-ish piles of pixels with equally imaginary weapons. Can we do Mac users next?
“That’s right, gamers, get ready: This Saturday, World of Warcraft (WoW) players will have the opportunity to combat a team of four Horde seal killers. We need your help to stop them from bashing in the heads of any more seals!” reads a post on PETA’s blog.
“Activists from across the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor are banding together to put a stop to the atrocious seal slaughter. Anyone who slaughters baby seals for their fur must surely be in service to the evil Lich King.”
So, putting aside the fact that PETA’s storming a sand castle while the real deal lies only a few feet away, what exactly is being protested here? Are we trying to teach Blizzard a lesson for granting an infinitely-respawning virtual seal utopia some form of population control? Because really, in that case, why not just stop subscribing to World of Warcraft altogether?
And, of course, if PETA’s brandishing its Rolling Pin of +10 Guilt at the players, why not do it in a less infuriating way? Honestly, if you – in the process of going about your daily WoW duties – found yourself steamrolled by a bunch of hootin’ and hollerin’ PVPers, would you immediately think, “OH MAN, THE BABY SEALS NEED MY HELP”? Personally, we’d probably take a boot to one of the big-eyed little buggers, if only to relieve our frustration.
So yeah, just donate to Sea World or something. It’ll be a much better use of your time. Unless you just love griefing other players, in which case, go right ahead. It’s a free country.