[sf-lug] Black hats declare war on Scientology

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Fri Jan 25 18:35:35 PST 2008


On Jan 25, 2008 4:41 PM, Asheesh Laroia <asheesh at asheesh.org> wrote:

> On Fri, 25 Jan 2008, Christian Einfeldt wrote:
> > I would like to see Scientology be exposed for the murders and fraud
> > they have perpetrated.  And a small part of myself likes to see
> > Anonymous stick it to them.  But illegal means are still illegal means,
> > even if deployed against bad guys, and so I try to not take joy in
> > seeing Scientology's servers get hammered by Anonymous.  Some things are
> > just wrong, even if done for the right reasons.
> I'd like to just point out that morality ("some things are just wrong")
> and legality ("illegal means are still illegal means") are very different
> things.

But in this case, the DDOS attacks that Anonymous is mounting against
Scientology is both immoral and illegal, at least in my opinion.  I don't
know the statutes in question, but I think that we can all agree that a DDOS
attack is illegal.  It is also immoral to DDOS a site, because it amounts to

The more interesting question is whether using Digg to urge people to swamp
a site is illegal or immoral.  As I say, I am not familiar with the statutes
involved, and I don't want to take the time to look up the statutes and
begin parsing statutes for this thread, because that is what I do for a
living, and it is tedious and pointless without a law-and-motion judge to
rule on it.  As to whether it is immoral, I guess that I would have to say
that even in the case of Scientology, I am not sure that it is moral to
hammer someone's server just because you know they committed murder.  Even
in the case of a murderous org like Scientology, this is just vigilanteism.

The law calls for deliberate consideration of crime and punishment for a
good reason; without the deliberation of law, we would see much more
injustice being done.  Anonymous is setting themselves up to be judge, jury
and executioner, and they are not accountable to anyone.

I would like to say that Scientology deserves to be DDOS'd, because they are
a really bad organization.  But Anonymous' methods can't be condoned, not
even if it feels really good to see Scientology get hammered.

This country has had many laws, and some of those laws were
> considered immoral over time and repealed.  Some of those laws are
> considered immoral and never repealed.

Right, and that is a failure of justice that needs to be addressed on a
case-by-case basis.  But the failure of justice in a few cases is no
justification for vigilanteism.

> Legality can have something to do with fairness, of course; using only
> legal means against an opponent can be an indication that you want a fair
> fight with them.  But let's not confuse the legality of the means of
> Anonymous with the "wrongness" (morality) of the means of Anonymous.

Are you saying that Anonymous is right to DDOS Scientology's servers?

> Judge him

Them.  "We are Legion.  We are Anonymous.  We do not forgive.  We do not
forget.  Expect us."

Not someone you want to cross.  They really are nothing more than thugs.
Fortunately for now, they are thugs with principles:  they are attacking
Scientology because of the murders Scientology has committed and because
Scientology is attacking the openness of the Internet.  But there were some
threats made on Digg by people claiming to be Anonymous saying, basically,
"Don't cross us or your home PC will be next."  That is creeping fascism.

I really like it that Anonymous has gotten sufficiently pissed off to made a
public declaration of war on Scientology.  And Anon has a multifacetted
approach to fighting Scientology:  like Hamas or the Black Panthers, Anon is
engaged in legal means such as negative PR and posting videos and documents
to the Internet.  That is awesome.  My only complaint against Anon is that
they are using DDOS attacks, harvesting private Scientology bank accounts
and SS numbers and birth dates of Scientologists and spreading that on the

> I know someone who wrote a haiku about how to decode DVDs; combined with a
> compiler for the poem into C, this action is illegal, but I don't think
> the action is wrong.

Yeah, but there is a difference between helping people decode DVDs and
hammering someone's server, don't you think?  I still wouldn't help anyone
decode DVDs because I live in the US, where that is a crime, I *think*, or
at least a tort.
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