Thursday, January 13, 2011


If I have neglected to keep up with the most important news of late - it is not for lack of interest. As the New Year has begun, many things have come to the recent forefront of worldwide attention. But in the background, just under the edge of sight...sits the quiet and stategic harrbringer of the future. A group that many people heard of for the first time this last December 9th and 10th. A group that calls itself


Since flexing their muscle and spinning their technological prowess in the faces of the world governments in 2010. Anonymous has been anything but quiet. As is their usual tactic and style, they have been ever public.  






RE:  An Interview with Anonymous
Interview with Operation:Payback (II)

What is the incentive for the various government regulators and lawmakers to work with Anonymous? You attacked them, justified or not, that is how they see it. Future threats will do little to get them to act. How will Anonymous address this?
Our primary objective is to raise public awareness; these attacks and threats publish better than peaceful protests. With the attention, people will at least gain insight in the facts as they are presented, and the facts how they really are. This is not about artists being paid, but industries getting their actual profit from suing people. That is a reversed world. People only complain about the situation. We raise the awareness that something can actually be done about it. We may be known as "evil DDoSers", but we did put "scammy" firms like ACS:Law out of business for sending people unfounded law threats/bills. We achieved the fact that ISPs are now more careful about handing over their customers' IPs; the Ministry of Sound even dropped their legal case against BT [URL:] because of that. We are not against entertainment or their industries; we are against the way that copyright and patent systems are abused. While we have little or no experience with communicating with lawmakers, other people might have, and those people can decide to help us with what we started.
Some people I have spoken to don't agree with piracy, but do agree with copyright reform. Do you feel that your pro-piracy views will distract people from supporting your law reform proposals?
The cause of piracy is because the current copyright laws were written in the past and do not take modern inventions like the Internet into account. The current copyright system is abused and is in dire need of reformation. While we are pro-piracy, we do not state that piracy should become legal. A music/film fan may still want original CD/DVDs, while other people may
care only about new content. We can only hope that people who agree with copyright reform are also well-versed in piracy and what it stands for.
You mentioned that "We will print posters, we will send emails, we will send letters. We will broadcast our manifestos and intentions. We will involve people who do not know nor care. We will involve everybody. Whether they want it or not."
How will you do this? Anonymous as a whole isn't an organized group, more of a hive mentality with some well meaning intentions for the most part. This suggests a level of organization that has been previously unseen. How do you intend to do this?
Eventually, people will decide for themselves whether or not they want to be involved. We are just a small group, representing the interests of a larger group of people. While a lot of people think "that's the law, we can't change it", we need only to make them aware that laws can change when we all stand together. When they are made aware, they can either chose to ignore or join us, in any form of protest. Even sending a simple letter politely asking for copyright reformation would help.
How will the grassroots efforts tie into the meeting of the minds with regard to reform? Do you plan to use the wide information campaign to draw public support? Do you plan to join forces with The Pirate Party?
Operation Payback is not the best choice for a political campaign. This operation is generally associated with violence and attacks. We merely presented people with political resources a number of propositions they can use, maybe even in their run at future elections. We can also choose to start our own political party. Obviously, that would be with a different name.
Our actions are our own and not related to the Pirate Parties in any way. The Pirate Party of Canada finally got its first federal candidate in the Winnipeg North by-election. The Pirate Party in the United States can sure use some support as well [url:]. We do not have specific plans, but joining the PP is an idea worth pursuing. One thing is sure: Operation Payback's violent nature will not be part of it.
In two years there will be another national election in the US. Will you plan to make IP (Intellectual property) and copyright reform into a political issue by spreading information, forcing the politicians to talk about it? If so, how? Why not form a lobby with public support?
Politics are slow and dragging. By that time, we hope to have the attention already. Our actions are merely a way to force the issue into the center of attention. Depending on the results of this operation and its derivatives, our American participants can choose whether they want to pursue political activities, or to do whatever they feel right to address this problem.
With the level of reform targeted, there are some sweeping plans. Do you think asking copyright and patents to last less than a year is reasonable?

That depends on the future. Our aim is to open discussion. If [they] show some willingness to go along with copyright reform, we can adapt our proposals as well. It also depends on the visions we have. Some of us believe that copyright is a limiting the innovations others could make with that specific --copyrighted-- idea. Maybe a year is now considered unreasonable, but maybe in five years even considered long.
What about stopping at five years? Why is medical patent and copyright listed as a medium term, when clearly this is a hot topic now. Why not use that as leverage to kick-start the momentum now?
This operation focuses on copyright as seen in the entertainment industries. People with political resources are of course free to order priorities as they see fit. Everybody has loved ones who could have been saved if patents were not restricting new innovations in medicine. But when copyright changes, patents may well be next.
Operation Payback was one of the first major collaborative DDoS attacks on the Internet. It leveraged social media as a tool of recruitment, IRC for communication/planning, and software developed to carry out the attacks in an automated fashion.
Thousands of supporters from around the world joined in, but despite the overwhelming support, the campaign was almost under constant attack. You sustained several counter DDoS attacks and Organizer/Channel/Network takeovers.
What do you attribute these counter-attacks to and what have you learned from them?
Well, we think most of the spam and network attacks that we received can be attributed to trolls looking for attention. There's no evidence to prove that any of our targets ever retaliated in kind with our attacks. On the contrary, we have indications that we just have malicious members who just wanted to annoy other people, without any motive or actual reasoning. Unfortunately, these people happened to have resources that we could have used for the good of the Operation.
The most important thing that was learned from this Operation is that the distribution of power/authority/access needs to be carefully monitored and minimalized. There were two such related events in which certain members used their access on the server and IRC network to try to takeover the Operation. Fortunately, Anonymous is a resilient bunch and managed to recover both times within 24 hours.
We had to migrate to different servers several times due to takedown notices as well. Our first two hosts — Tieve and Leetbaka — were forcefully shut down by requests from authorities. was eventually removed by the dotTK group as well.
We also learned that power will corrupt people with time. As soon as some people joined the core group, they felt that they could actually lead Anonymous as a personal army. Thankfully, Anonymous is not a group that can be controlled, but rather coordinated. This proves however, that there should be no such thing as absolute power in an environment like this, but rather a chairperson or a board of members that doesn't influence a discussion, but acts as an intermediary to find a collective solution via methods such as majority voting and taking in continuous feedback from every participant instead of once every two or four years.
===== U.S. Pirate Party =====
What is the U.S. Pirate Party and what does it stand for?
the US Pirate Party is a political party, formed in 2006, and based on the pirate party philisophy. It stands for INcreased Government Transparency and accountability, increased personal privacy, and reform of copyright/patent/trademark laws.
What is the current state of the USPP? What is being done to change the legal landscape?
The current state is that with the new cycle starting again over the next few weeks, we're going to try a push, again, to gain ballott access in some states. New York, Florida, oklahoma, and Oregon key amongst them
Q: The word "Pirate" can be confusing to the general public. Does the Pirate Party advocate piracy?
A: It doesn't 'advocate' it, as much as attempt to take a term which we have all been labeled by certain industries, and give it a new meaning.
Q: Does The Pirate Party condone the activities of Operation Payback?

A: No. As an illegal act, we can not condone it in any way.

Q: These attacks started because the group felt that nothing has been accomplished at the legislative level in regard to copyright and intellectual property reform. What are some of the roadblocks the Pirate Party faces in the current political landscape.
In the US, ballot access is set individually by each state. Most states make it extremely difficult to gain ballott access. There is also a big problem with money. Even if we make it onto the ballott, without huge amounts of money we won't win. although last week did show we have a chance of getting some decent vote numbers, through our endorsed candidates.
There is also a number of urban legends about voting for 3rd parties, that makes it hard for people to vote for us, myths spread by the major parties.
Q: Do you feel that your party will be able to overcome the barriers it
currently faces in the current political climate? How soon?

It's impossible to say how soon. We will however been working as hard as we can, as we have for the last 4 years, to overcome these barriers. We will overcome then, that is not in doubt, but the time it takes depends on how much support we get. Right now, we have a strong core, and many who are discouraged by the amount of effort and work that is needed at present, but nothing worth fighting for has ever been easy.
Q: What changes would The Pirate Party make in respect to copyright and intellectual property law?
Well, overall, there is no such thing as "intellectual property law", except thorwn around by lawyers and lobbyists to try and confuse 3 different legal topics into one. More properly, they're copyright, patent, and trademark law (or C/P/T).
For copyright, we want to see the term length come down, ideally to something in the 14-28 year range. At present, copyright is a Geritocracy, a 'society' set up to benefit the old. Anyone who's been in a retirement community knows, there's no progress there, and that's the problem. The US Constitution gives the reason for copyright's existance (patents too) as promoting the progress of science and the useful arts. We feel that term-shortening would give us a good start on this.
Patents have a host of other problems, but are tending towards the same lack of process. The reason here isn't excessive term length, but through scope and patentability. The ability to gain a patent in the first place needs a radical overhaul. There are patnts for thigns in nature, patnts for obvious things, patents for non-existant things and patents for future speculation. What can be patented needs redefining, to be clear and unambiguous. Secondly, we need a better process for reviewing and approving them. At present, the USPTO is so understaffed and overworked, they can spend less than 40 hours total on every patent application. Thus we have all sorts of patents approved that shouldn't be, because there isn't enough time to research properly. That's where a lot of patent lawsuits come up. Thirdly, there needs to be a clearer, and open access patent challenge system. Currently, it's hard to challenge a patent, even if it's as obvious as a plastic stick (US patent 6360693 - )
TRademarks also need reform, although more in the litigative methods of enforcement. There are plenty of cases of trademark trolling in recent
years, from Monster Cable, to facebook, that there is a clear issue. A varient of the idiot-in-a-hurry test should apply as the basis for the suit to even be brought, else it be treated as vexatious litigation and dealt with via sanctions.
Q:Many Operation Payback members feel that the anti-piracy lobby is too strong to fight off, hence the need for greater public awareness campaigns. What can operation payback members do to make a positive and constructive change in this respect?
They need to support their local organisations, to work within the law to try and change things. Trying to work outside the law, using methods like DDOS, eventually only strengthens such lobby groups, as they can point to criminal activities, and say how their opponants are criminals.
Join the Pirate Party, EFF, or other similar local organisation. Get involved. It's not easy work, but then again, it's not easy for the groups who would love to sell your freedom, your government, and the ability of society to progress. Only by working together, can we overcome them and make society better.
===== Pirate Party of Canada =====
What is the Pirate Party of Canada and what does it stand for?
A: Founded in 2009 and officially registered in 2010, the Pirate Party of Canada strives to reform Canadian information laws to meet the needs of the new century.
Q: The word "Pirate" can be confusing to the general public. Does the Pirate Party advocate piracy?
A: The Pirate Party does not condone illegal activity, but the purpose of forming any political party is to change the law to make the illegal legal or the legal illegal. What it is primarily to the general public and especially to the media is an eye-catching name that piques people's interest and makes them want to learn more about the party and what it stands for. Most parties in Canada have generic politically-correct names, and most parties go unremarked.
Q: Does The Pirate Party condone the activities of Operation Payback?
A: No. We are a political party, which means that aside from our refusal to condone illegal activities, our interest and responsibility is to change the law within the existing system.
Q: These attacks started because the group felt that nothing has been accomplished at the legislative level in regard to copyright and intellectual property reform. What are some of the roadblocks the Pirate Party faces in the current political landscape?
A: The present electoral system in Canada is weighted very heavily in favour of the four established federal parties. In order to elect a representative to Parliament, it is necessary to gain a plurality of votes in any one riding. We're targeting some of the ridings with the most membership with our campaigns, but it'll be tough going.
However, there are all kinds of measures of success. Our primary goal is to bring our issues and concerns to the highest level of debate possible. Where we can get elected, we'll talk in Parliament. Where we can run candidates, we'll talk at doorsteps and in candidates' debates. And where we don't, we'll run advertising and hand out flyers. The ultimate goal of a political party is to get elected, but that doesn't mean that's the only way we can be successful.
Q: Do you feel that your party will be able to overcome the barriers it currently faces in the current political climate? How soon?
A: I don't think our issues of concern are becoming less relevant. We'll be looking at a long fight ahead of us, but I expect to see things improve as time progresses. I also suspect we'll see electoral reform in Canada sooner or later, preferably sooner, which should help our chances in the new political climate.
Q: What changes would The Pirate Party make in respect to copyright and intellectual property law?
A: Well, the first problem is in the term itself. We're never going to see reasonable copyright/patent legislation so long as the notion of "intellectual property" endures. We prefer "information laws", or as our MP candidate puts it, "imaginary property". So long as the right to use and control a work persists even after it has been sold, we'll never see a copyright environment in which the public domain is seen as the default
state and copyright control only a stopgap measure to ensure that artists are able to make a reasonable profit.
As I noted earlier, shortening the copyright term isn't practical in the immediate because we wouldn't be able to push to reopen the Berne Convention unless we elected a Pirate Prime Minister, which I doubt will ever happen in the best-case scenario, nor do I want it to. I support our decision to avoid forming a comprehensive platform and allow our candidates to respond to their constituents' needs, but that wouldn't work for a governing party.
If the Berne Convention were to be reopened, I think we can agree that the loudest voices would be the copyright holders pushing for stricter regulations. However, I think we may be able to agree on an 80-100 year copyright term. It's by no means ideal or in line with our platform, but life + x isn't helping anyone in an environment in which most works have multiple contributors. I think a fixed number would be a good first step for us and even for big business with an eye to reuse and reproduce.
Therefore, I believe that our focus as a party needs to be reducing the scope of copyright. I am pushing for a party position of eliminating Crown copyright in Canada, one area in which I think the United States is more advanced in their IP law. I'd also like to see the scope of copyright narrowed to cover only commercial uses, although again we're limited by Berne. If we can scrape Canadian copyright law down to the bare minimum required by Berne with added refinements for modern technology, I think we've made major strides. Bit sad that in order to advance we need to roll back 100 years, but that's where we are now.
Q: Many Operation Payback members feel that the anti-piracy lobby is too strong to fight off, hence the need for greater public awareness campaigns. What can Operation Payback members do to make a positive and constructive change in this respect?
A: Well, the simple answer is to join one of the many legitimate organizations involved in the copyfight. In Canada, Fair Copyright for Canada and of course the Pirate Party are good bets. We're always in need of volunteers. On an individual ad-hoc level, contacting MPs, stakeholders, arranging and attending protests, and getting involved in boycotts are all good ways to get active.

The 800 Days is Neither For or Against Anonymous
The 800 Days is For Education of the Mind
The 800 Days is Against Disinformation
The 800 Days is for Anyone

Here are links to other posts and things related to this that I have written:

Anonymous Info War

Cyberwar Attacks Swedish Government Website

Cyberwar Attacks Visa Mastercard and PayPal

WikiLeaks Funds Released by PayPal

" We are not concerned with legality, but with legitimacy. Those who decide our laws are the same people who decided that public copyright harassment, erosion of civil liberties and abominations of censorship such as COICA, ACTA, and the DEAct, are good and just things to enforce upon the populace. They do this whilst selectively enforcing their own laws when it comes to "official" organizations that take actions such as running a mass racketeering operation (knowingly suing thousands of individuals for infringement on bad evidence ) or DDoSing sites that are contrary to their interests (AiPlex). We do not recognize their "authority" due to this rank hypocrisy. "
 - Anonymous

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