09 December 2010

Operation Payback: Assange's avengers get personal with Palin

Throughout the day reports have tumbled in of cyber-attacks perpetrated by hackers against businesses who withdrew financial support from Julian Assange and WikiLeaks before his arrest. Now word arrives that hackers, following a well-publicized game plan known as "Operation Payback" have targeted both Sarah Palin's websites and her personal credit-card accounts. If there is a war of ideas, or a war for information underway, I suppose it's inevitable that sympathizers with WikiLeaks will want, however hypocritically, to take down hostile websites. My own view is that it's no more cool to strangle Palin's online voice than it was for anyone to silence WikiLeaks, or for people like Palin to cheer them on. Anyone who wants to say she deserves it, even if only as tit-for-tat, may as well say, just as they say of their enemies, that they only want freedom of speech for themselves. And if anyone says that identity theft or draining Palin's accounts, or whatever's being attempted against her, pales in comparison to Assange losing his freedom, that's still advocating lawlessness. How much further do you need to go before you're calling for her death? She really isn't worth the trouble. This stunt is both petty and criminal, and politics don't excuse it. Earlier this week I thought I exaggerated in writing about an "Internet Civil War," but now I see the conflict escalating. How soon before we see collateral damage?...

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