On ABC Radio PM yesterday, Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu suggested that Wikileaks might have so got under the skin of the US Government that they might take radical steps to curtail the Internet:
If as a result of WikiLeaks we see a real change in the federal government’s attitude towards the Internet, if it sways the argument towards we’ve really got to control this thing for national security reasons, it could be the beginning of the real closing of the internet in the United States. It’s an American invention originally and when sort of its home base begins to turn on it, if the federal government really starts to turn on the Internet and try to close it down, it could be a turning point.
If so, then what will really convince the administration to take such steps is the anarchic actions of hacktivists rushing in to ‘defend’ Wikileaks by bringing down payment provider websites. With friends like these, Wikileaks doesn’t need enemies.
No matter what we might think of the unilateral actions taken by PayPal, MasterCard, Visa et al, there can be no justifying vigilantes like Anonymous taking the law into their own hands.
If it were ever proven that a government had mounted a DDOS attack against Wikileaks, the blogosphere would rightly scream blue bloody murder. But too many are lionising the DDOS attacks undertaken by a self-appointed cyber militia.
One of Wikileaks’ key assets is the moral high ground. Their true supporters should roundly condemn all hacktivism, or we will all go down the gurgler of double standards.