Internet Censorship: Politician Education Required

Further demonstration that “they do not understand what they are messing with” came today, with the political establishment in this country completely missing the point in regards to what a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is designed to achieve.

Quoting a release from the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE):

A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the attacks were not a legitimate form of political statement. They were “totally irresponsible and potentially deny services to the Australian public”.

No, really?

That’s the idea. A DDoS attack is – by definition – designed to “deny service”. In the case of a commercial operation, a sustained DDoS incident can ultimately – and sometimes quite drastically – cripple revenue streams, with potential online customers unable to engage the organisation through e-commerce channels. By attacking phone and fax systems, other inbound communications systems are also crippled. This can be EXTREMELY costly to a company, and DDoS attacks are normally carried out to make a stand against an unpopular policy or practice of the organisation being attacked. They are designed to hit the bottom line – as they say “money talks”.

Very few businesses have the resources to take a sustained hit, so most give up, cave into the pressure, and alter their policies. Whether or not that is fair is a completely different argument.

So, this group is attacking the government, and preventing them from providing their services to the public – in protest of the upcoming internet filtering legislation, and banning of certain pornographic material, in an attempt to appease the various lobby groups. They are seeking to “cripple” the government’s ability to provide its services, perhaps prevent people from being able to pay due taxes online. This hits the government’s bottom line.

Internet users are a powerful lobby group also – as the government is about to learn. I don’t support the actions of this group, as I believe it will do more damage to our fight for internet freedom than good – the average Joe on the street will see this as a bunch of “pissed off kiddies” – but it’s no different than anti-war protesters marching up and down the street and disrupting people from carrying out day-to-day business. Joe won’t understand this, but this is a legitimate form of political statement – much like laying down in front of a military tank.

The government saying it is not a legitimate form of political statement is a rapid-fire response to get to the mainstream media, and make it sound like it is not.

However, if nothing else, maybe Minister Conroy and Prime Minister Rudd might start seeing the point, but I won’t be holding my breath.