1st Amendment News

Anonymous wants government protection for service shutdowns

The Internet protest group, Anonymous, is petitioning the White House to back its tactic called DDoS, distributed denial-of-service, that occupies a website to slow it or shut it down. Anonymous wants the practice recognized as free speech, similar to an “occupy” protest, reports Lorraine Murphy, for The Daily Dot, January 9, 2013.

The comparison with the  “occupy” protests lacks credibility, argues Ben Kersey for The Verge, January 9, 2013. “DDoS attacks…tend to have much more devastating effects, often crippling websites or taking them offline altogether for hours — even days — on end,” writes Kersey.

Gene Policinski, First Amendment Center, January 18, 2013, considers DDoS a form of “heckler’s veto,” similar to shouting down a speaker and not protected by the First Amendment. “Any way you cut it, such a veto is the antithesis of the marketplace of ideas that is at the heart of freedom of expression,” writes Policinski. -db

 

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