Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Battleground Internet

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 3:48 PM


If Warren Ellis says it's the best WikiLeaks Twitter update ever, it probably is. It certainly is the most dramatic:

WikiLeaks communications infrastructure is currently under attack. Project BO move to coms channel S. Activate Reston5.

Using Twitter to transmit coded orders to your army of computer hackers. Hello, future. Good to be here.

While we don't know who is attacking WikiLeaks, we can guess why.

Here, you can read this interesting article by Nadim Kobeissi for some context on what might be going on:

On one side, WikiLeaks has assembled the brightest and most dedicated hacker-activists in an effort to turn the Internet into a bastion of transparency and information freedom.

On the other side, the United States has combined its Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency in an attempt to clamp down on the Internet with censorship and encryption-banning laws.

Both parties, however, have fully realized the importance of the Internet and the outcome of their battle will change the face of the world.


Weeks after the WikiLeaks conference, the site released a cache of over 92,000 classified Afghanistan war documents, free for the world to browse through, conveniently coupling the release with a leaked Central Intelligence Agency document that examines the possibility of the U.S. being perceived as an exporter of terrorism.

The Pentagon, already on a full-swing manhunt for [Wikileaks spokesperson Julian] Assange, intensified its war against WikiLeaks. Pentagon spokesmen called for the “return” of the leaked documents—a move that is necessary by law for the Pentagon to be capable of later accusing WikiLeaks of espionage.

The FBI and the U.S. government joined forces, declaring its $9-million “Going Dark” program combined with an Obama-backed bill that would outlaw all encryption that the government can’t obtain backdoor access to, thus outlawing all encryption WikiLeaks depends on to provide security for its sources. The U.S. Government aimed to garner an “Eye of Sauron” of the Internet.

While this might all seem very far removed from our daily lives, like the filming of the next Bourne movie, it isn't. How this all plays out will have very real impact on the way the Internet is regulated and manipulated by government.

In late September, the U.S. government furthered its war against WikiLeaks with a new bill—the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act—which seems like an anti-piracy bill, if one doesn’t bother to closely examine the fine print.

“The list is for domains ‘dedicated to infringing activity’, which is defined very broadly,” said Aaron Swartz on his anti-web-censorship site “Any site where counterfeit goods or copyrighted material are ‘central to the activity of the Internet site’ would be blocked.”

It doesn’t seem far-removed for a government that already plans to accuse WikiLeaks of espionage to accuse it of harboring “counterfeit goods.” The United States has launched a full-scale attack on the rights, privacy and freedom of its own people in a desperate, scrambling attempt to deal with WikiLeaks’s truth-speaking.

Five hours after the Twitter update, and the WikiLeaks site is still down.

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