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The Courts

eBay Founder Pleads For Leniency For the PayPal 14 225

Posted by timothy
from the reasonable-man-standards dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "The founder of eBay, the parent company of PayPal, Pierre Omidyar has called on U.S. prosecutors to have mercy on the 14 members of Anonymous who are appearing in court this week facing up to 15 years in jail and a $500,000 fine for their part in a DDoS attack against PayPal in 2010. Despite thousands of Anons taking part, and most of the damage being done by two major botnets, the 14 are set to bear all the responsibility if U.S. prosecutors have their way."
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eBay Founder Pleads For Leniency For the PayPal 14

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:28AM (#45607997)

    it's sort of like how union leaders used to get put in jail (or killed) for organizing strikes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pullman_Strike [wikipedia.org]

    Right now what they did does seem illegal hooliganism, as does most civil disobedience. Sometimes society adapts to see things differently. For now this is still hooliganism. I think they need to show a compelling good coming out of this if they expect a different response. The question is, what good would that be?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:28AM (#45608007)

    And the prosecutors are probably out to send a message to all the potential hangers-on, that what they're doing is going to result in serious consequences.

    That way they have to think what will happen if they get caught, and it won't be a slap on the wrist.

    Which doesn't mean I think that what Anonymous was doing in this wasn't based on a genuinely good idea, I'm just expressing the intentions of the Justice Department.

  • by Grantbridge (1377621) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:33AM (#45608055)
    This makes perfect sense. If an angry mob smashes up some shops fronts, but police only catch 14 people you wouldn't charge them with the total damage of the entire mob, as well as the cost of upgrading security to protect against an angry mob in the future. You would charge each individual according to the damage they actually did. In this case a single person using LOIC doesn't really do any significant damage at all. You could charge them a 1/1000 of the cost of overtime for personal to deal with the attack, and the extra bandwidth they caused the company, but its madness to hold them responsible for the damage done by the entire swarm. In a cynical POV, this is also an excellent way for PayPall to remove themselves as a target when the PayPal14 are found guility.
  • Re:Fuck Them (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:35AM (#45608079) Homepage

    These few are fined for the actions of thousands of individuals.
    This means that if the detectives did their job better and caught more individuals, each individuals' fines would be lower.
    Why should these individuals be punished for a sloppy job done by others?
    They should be punished, they should pay a fine and they should pay damages. But they shouldn't have to pay damage caused by others.

  • Re:Activism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by robinsonne (952701) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:52AM (#45608279)
    The difference being that meatspace activism is almost pointless these days. It might get a 30 second mention on the news on a slow day, but otherwise you're just shunted into a "free speech zone", traffic gets routed around the protest and is flat out ignored.

    Hacktivism on the other hand, has relatively immediate, noticeable (sometimes very much so) consequences that can either cost an organization money or if nothing else cause embarrassment.

    Meatspace protests make you feel good, and are probably amusing to the powers that be. Online, a few people can a real nuisance, which is what activism is trying to do: be a nuisance until a change happens. [sarcasm] We can't have things like that happening in this country. Obviously we have to set an example for these 14 people. [/sarcasm]
  • Re: Fuck Them (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sycodon (149926) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @12:00PM (#45608341)

    This wasn't spray painting a wall. It was more like barricading the doors. Painted walls don't stop you from doing business.

  • Re:Fuck Them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheCarp (96830) <[ten.tenaprac] [ta] [cjs]> on Thursday December 05, 2013 @12:11PM (#45608485) Homepage

    So we should ignore the fact that making punishments harsher is a terrible deterrent; in spite of how simple it sounds? The chance of getting caught is what is an actual deterrent.

    So hitting a few people, very hard, for an action much larger than them, produces very little result. Whereas slapping a lot of people lightly on the wrist, would likely produce a much bigger result.

    Course, paypal deserved it. I applaud everyone who took part.

  • Re:Deterrent (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @12:20PM (#45608579)

    The objective here isn't to punish anyone proportionally to the crimes they committed. The whole point of online activists having the book thrown at them is to deter future activists.

    You are right that this is a deterrence. I posted yesterday a much longer comment about this in the thread about the guy who got a huge fine and 2 years probation for participating for a very short time in the DOS. Basically US law allows for punitive damages in some cases and the system allows them to be exorbitant and perhaps even illogical. Sometimes these get reduced on appeal, but not always. The point is indeed to provide a deterrent against others doing the same thing in the future. It's not at all about fairness. If you are American and don't like it, work to change the system (probably not possible though) or complain all you want, but it's not going away. If you're not American, you can complain all you want about it but you can't change it.

    I mentioned this in my post yesterday too, but some of it is that jury members in general know little about technology and some are almost Luddites. Judges and lawyers in general also know little about technology. This leads to prosecutors and judges overreacting against things they don't understand very well and juries overreacting to punish people due to not really understanding what they did.

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @12:26PM (#45608655) Journal

    ... a position which is frightfully naive. Of course making things more illegal is a deterrent. It used to be totally legal to drive with your kids in the back of your truck on the open freeway. It's now more illegal (at least in California) and you don't see (very many) people driving on the freeway with kids in the back of their truck.

    All officially recognized crimes are punished with the intent of deterring future crime, and you live in a time and place which ranks as among the most peaceful and civilized periods in all of known history. To suggest that this concept does not work betrays a stunning lack of understanding and respect for all the work put in by the millions of people who worked to establish and maintain the system that provides such domestic peace and tranquility.

    Did you actually think that spending 10 years in jail actually compensates the parents and loved ones of a murder victim? Sorry, if they're dead, no amount of punishment will ever bring them back, and until you've personally experienced the loss of a close loved one, you cannot really understand just how devastating such a loss can be.
      However, even sociopaths can understand personal injury and suffering even if they lack the ability empathize in any way with their victims.

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @01:04PM (#45609069) Homepage Journal
    That, and, Omidyar feels that many of the participants in the PayPal DDoS saw it as a form of protest. He doesn't attribute malice to them.

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