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Anonymous Warhead Targets US Sentencing Commission 252

Posted by timothy
from the they-hate-that dept.
theodp writes "Late Friday, Violet Blue reports, the U.S. Sentencing Commission website was hacked and government files distributed by Anonymous in 'Operation Last Resort.' The U.S. Sentencing Commission sets guidelines for sentencing in United States Federal courts, and on the defaced ussc.gov website Anonymous cited the recent suicide of Aaron Swartz as 'a line that has been crossed.' Calling the launch of its new campaign a "warhead," Anonymous vowed, 'This time there will be change, or there will be chaos.'" Adds reader emil: "Anonymous has not specified exactly what files they have obtained. The various files were named after Supreme Court judges. At a regular interval commencing today, Anonymous will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents."
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Anonymous Warhead Targets US Sentencing Commission

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  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @05:32PM (#42703325) Homepage

    How about doing it because it's the right thing to do?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 26, 2013 @05:33PM (#42703341)

    "heavily redacted partial content"? What is the point then. They go to the effort of doing this, naming their operation something quite aggressive ("warhead") and then pussyfoot around with the results? Are they hoping that they will be ignored or the response will be weaker?

  • by eksith (2776419) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @05:35PM (#42703361) Homepage

    I'm not gonna go into whether or not this "warhead" business is a good idea. It's probably not, since it wouldn't be what Aaron Swartz himself would. He would have made a lot of noise and brought public attention had he been able to cope, but defacements were beneath him. Also, it's likely just dirt courtesy of WikiLeaks.

    But whatever hope anyone had about restoring that term to what it was just went up in a flame of digital smoke.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @05:42PM (#42703393)
    If anyone were interested in doing the right thing, they would likely have done so before being threatened.
  • Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 26, 2013 @05:57PM (#42703477) Journal

    At least somebody is standing up for our rights. Let's face it - most people just want to stuff their face with junk food and watch American Idol. They don't like to question authority because doing that makes them feel uncomfortable. Most people are sheep.

    Yes, hear hear! They are liberating us. But there was something odd from the summary:

    At a regular interval commencing today, we will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents of the file.

    Ah, so the "information wants to be free" right up until it's you who has access to the information. We have been liberated from being manipulated "sheep" of the US government and are now part of a flock shepherded by anonymous individuals? And ... uh ... that has gained us what exactly? Out of the frying pan into the fire? If I can't trust the US Government and I can name their members, how can I trust Anonymous whom I cannot name?

  • Re:Question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rmdingler (1955220) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:09PM (#42703539)
    This. The folks who Overlord the new revolution are anonymous...how might I contact someone if I have a question? Sure. Folks with zero accountability in shaping opinion and behavior for the rest of us. What could go wrong with that?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:14PM (#42703569)

    Here we go again. Stop posturing and just publish the documents. As appealing as fighting for justice and equality, this grand standing and attempt to use "secret" information to extract concession is at best juvenile, at worst a power game. Neither of which serves to advance justice and equality.

    If there is information pertinent to illegal or unethical government action. Just publish it and let the public judge for themselves. Otherwise, how is the blackmail strategy of Anonymous different from that of our governments.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:16PM (#42703579) Homepage

    Charges fitting what was actually alleged and punishment fitting the crime are the right things to do.

  • Typical Anonymous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:29PM (#42703653) Homepage

    This is typical of Anonymous's "hacktivism". The problems with federal prosecutor over reach has been a problem for decades, but Anonymous didn't care at all about it until it impacted one of their own. And even now they're focussed purely on retaliating over someone who can't be helped rather than trying to get publicity for the thousands of other (mostly poor and minority) people out there right now being victimized just the same way.

    And to top it all off, the organization they decide to attack is the USSC, one of the few parts of the government that actually been an ally on this issue (for example, by criticizing the way drug sentencing is biased against minorities).

  • Toxic government (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:43PM (#42703733)

    Everyone will argue whether this is a good idea, whether we should "work within the system", whether this is something that Aaron would have done, "ballot box, soapbox, ammo box", and so on. The arguments are patently obvious, and not particularly new or innovative. We've heard it all before, here and elsewhere.

    The federal government has always been toxic to the citizenry, and it seems like in recent years the level of malevolence and spite from the people in charge have reached critical levels. Like a pot of superheated water, a nucleating agent will make the whole thing flash to steam.

    Efforts to fix the problem from within have failed. The system is flexible enough that it will change to prevent any attempts to fix it. People have been trying for years, to no avail. (People have voted for smaller government, less war, and human rights for decades - how has that worked out?)

    Most of what we depend on for civilization does not come from the federal government. The protections of law, community services, even many entitlements are run at the state level. We could do away with the federal government almost entirely and everyday life would continue uninterrupted.

    (Would anyone notice if suddenly we no longer had a war on drugs, no searches at airports, no wars fought on foreign soil, no foreign military bases? Could we just dispense with all military and discretionary spending, leaving social security, medicare, and VA benefits intact? Who would attack us if we didn't have a military? How much would productivity increase if instead of paying to keep people in prison [wikipedia.org], we freed people to become taxpayers?)

    People are losing faith in the government. At some point, government is no longer an asset to the people, but a tumor which must be attacked and destroyed.

    If you dislike the tactics Anonymous are using, then by all means show us your alternative.

    Otherwise, outright hostility towards the federal government will increase and people will eventually realize that having no federal government is better than what we have now.

    At that point it will all come tumbling down - very quickly.

    All it takes is a spark, a nucleating incident, or a viral video.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:48PM (#42703767) Homepage

    No, felony charges for what amounted to a simple trespass are nothing like appropriate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:57PM (#42703847)

    It's psychology directed at news outlets. Just releasing a big chunk of files containing some incriminating data might get a few people riled up for a while, but it's relatively uninteresting to the general public. Tease news outlets with hyperbolae and a stream of disparate partial data, and you can drum up enough interest in the general public that larger news outlets actually want to cover the juicier bits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:04PM (#42703889)
    What demands? Are they asking the government to pinkie swear that they'll stop doing all those naughty things? What a bunch of morons.
  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anomaly256 (1243020) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:29PM (#42704069)
    It wasn't even trespass really. From what I read he had permission to access the servers, just not in the manner in which he did (automated crawler). This is more like being invited inside the house, but then stepping on the carpet before taking your shoes off (inconsiderate, but not intentionally malicious), apologizing and stepping back but having your host call the police on you and trying to file charges for damages against you anyway, then the overzealous police chasing you down even though your host has admitted they over reacted and no longer wish to pursue the matter.
  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shavano (2541114) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:30PM (#42704077)

    yeah, did that. It's still not clear what the blackmailers want, exactly and therefore not clear whether it is "right." Is is "right" to comply with blackmailers in principle? I would say not, and I would say that such stunts have zero likelihood of getting sentencing guidelines made less strict for computer crime. If anything, it will make the people on the commission even more determined to deal with "these people" in a draconian manner.

    Seriously, isn't it written somewhere, "Never try to threaten the guy who's holding the big guns?" It's tactically a bad move.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ironhandx (1762146) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:38PM (#42704131)

    Not quite, a better metaphor would be that he was invited into a house to take pictures of *anything* he wanted.

    They then called the cops because he took pictures of everything.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:41PM (#42704151) Homepage

    I didn't say I thought this was the right approach nor that I thought it would work, I just said I approve of the objective. We should revise the guidelines and reign in prosecutors in general. Not because anon demands it, but because it is the right thing for our society.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:59PM (#42704271) Homepage

    A speeder knowingly breaks the law as well, but I don't think multiple felony counts is the right answer. The suicide is irrelevant to that. Perhaps it put him over the edge, perhaps it didn't. Either way the prosecutor vastly overreached.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @08:19PM (#42704405) Homepage

    The problems with federal prosecutor over reach has been a problem for decades,

    So can you think of a better time than now to start fixing it? If you really believe this is a problem, don't attack your allies. Be thankful for their support, even though you saw the problem before they did.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @08:33PM (#42704491) Homepage

    (People have voted for smaller government, less war, and human rights for decades - how has that worked out?)

    Since 1980 people have pretty much consistently voted for more government benefits, bigger government programs and whatever else the government says it needs to increase payments to people. We have gotten ourselves into a financial mess with a president promoting lower taxes and a Congress that spends as much as possible to keep the gravy train going.

    Would anyone notice if suddenly we no longer had a war on drugs, no searches at airports, no wars fought on foreign soil, no foreign military bases?

    Sure you would. No more searches at airports would mean the instant revocation of insurance coverage for airlines - remember, they proved they can't handle the security screening. No foreign military bases would mean all the cheap stuff from China and South Korea would disappear in a blinding flash. North Korea is just waiting for the US to give up on the South so they can walk in and take over. We could probably give up bases in Europe now, but in a lot of ways these bases are a net gain for everyone's economy.

    Foreign wars? Sure, I suppose. Today we are trying to follow a "You broke it, you own it" philosophy and it is taking time - because the countries are far less stable than either Germany or Japan were at the end of WWII where we had to follow a similar course. Unfortunately some bright folks thought we could do this on the cheap and not bother the people about it. I'd say a much better course would have been to sell bonds to support the effort and maybe a special "war tax". We could have actually seen if Congress would have gone along with that. I suspect they would have. Afganistan was a pretty popular engagement.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @08:34PM (#42704493) Journal

    Seriously, isn't it written somewhere, "Never try to threaten the guy who's holding the big guns?" It's tactically a bad move.

    Indeed, they are shooting at a hippopotamus with a .22, at best they are just pissing it off. The intellectually curious are trapped in open ground between them and in grave danger of being trampled or shot.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday January 26, 2013 @09:49PM (#42704879) Homepage

    Exactly. I fail, utterly and completely, to understand how the GP poster and his ilk don't get that. That even if Swartz committed a crime, it wasn't a 50 years in jail type of crime. It was a pay a fine type of crime. One point made in the video was that the 8th amendment bars cruel and unusual punishment. The amended indictment had a 50 year penalty on it. If other crimes were similarly charged, you'd be looking at 20 years for rolling through a stop sign. Death for shoplifting. That, as was Swartz' potential time, is not just cruel ...it's assinine.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @11:03PM (#42705151) Journal

    Since 1980 people have pretty much consistently voted for more government benefits, bigger government programs and whatever else the government says it needs to increase payments to people.

    Yeah, instead of vodint Democrat (who support big goverenment) they should have voted Republican (who support big government). Or was it the other way around?

    Sure you would. No more searches at airports would mean the instant revocation of insurance coverage for airlines - remember, they proved they can't handle the security screening.

    Haha. You know, or airlines would do what is required, not the unnecessary crap which goes on now. I doubt any actuary believes a pair of tweasers or miniture swiss army knife could be used to hijack a plane. Even the UK (we grew the shoe-bomber, if you didn't know) has given up on the shoeless shuffle. Seriously, the TSA is nuts and out of hand.

    North Korea is just waiting for the US to give up on the South so they can walk in and take over

    So you have NK which has been an impoverished shit hole for the last 50 years and SK which has been prosperous and high tech. SK has a quite advanced and prosperous armaments industry. It wouldn't be a quick fight, but I don't expect SK would fall easily to NK. Also, if NK did use nukes, the rest of the world would probably pile in. The NK leadership may be nuts but not nuts enough to loose what power they have.

    You also ignored the large point about the massive, expensive and unjust war on drugs.

  • by jelizondo (183861) * <[jerry.elizondo] [at] [gmail.com]> on Sunday January 27, 2013 @02:31AM (#42705839)

    We, the government, have decided to detain all Slashdot users with a uid greater than 500,000; please report to the nearest camp.

    The treatment they received is besides the point; the point being they were American citizens, whose only crime was to be of children or grandchildren of Japanese inmigrants.

    Yes, they were not exterminated but it was a racist action, and in that way, the two are comparable.

    Now, think how much worse the treatment could have gotten if the war was lost or if it looked that way to the powers that be...

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @05:48AM (#42706315) Homepage

    Corrupt politicians in a democracy have no power at all. They are salesmen selling laws to the highest bidding lobbyists who in turn act as agents for the richest and greediest. Take laws that make small business more and more difficult every day, seriously what benefit would a politician get out of it but check out the lobbyists and the corporate franchises skulking in the background, what benefit do franchisors gain, they shut out small business competitors, either pay franchisors a huge percentage or get purposefully shut out by the complexity of the law.

    Corporations lobbying for the ramping up and expanding of criminal penalties, so they can turn for profit private prisons into slave labour camps.

    Yet those idiot Libertarians still do no get it, economic freedom is not and never will be civil freedom, in fact what you have right now is economic freedoms slowly but surely crushing civil freedoms out of existence. The minority psychopaths at the top of corporations want the economic freedom at the top to own everyone at the bottom, they want the economic freedom to deny you your civil freedom.

    Yet you like many others rant about the power of politicians, when in reality the politicians are being systematically disempowered into being nothing but empty puppets and it is those corporations and corporate executives with the power who are running the show, whilst blaming everything upon the politicians they own.

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