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Britain's GCHQ Attacked Anonymous Supporters With DDoS 133

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the something-about-watching-watchers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "NBC News reports that, during a 2012 NSA conference called SIGDEV, GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group bragged about using Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against members of Anonymous during an operation called Rolling Thunder in 2011 (there is evidence that says it was a SYN flood, so technically it was a simple DoS attack). Regular citizens would face 10 years in prison and enormous fines for committing a DoS / DDoS attack. The same applies if they encouraged or assisted in one. But if you work in the government, it seems like you're an exception to the rule."
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Britain's GCHQ Attacked Anonymous Supporters With DDoS

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  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @09:58AM (#46161697)

    In other news, the UK military can drive tanks, fire missiles & carry weapons - but regular citizens cannot.

    It's all about oversight, not an attitude of "why can't we legally do this too?".

  • by Megol (3135005) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:00AM (#46161703)
    To the police that is? That government agents (no not only the 007 kind) tend to overstep their authorities and commit crimes from time to time isn't that uncommon or even strange (even a government consists of people after all) but the solution to that is to report the event to police and let the legal system handle it. And hope the guilty are punished, sadly that isn't certain...
  • by pigsycyberbully (3450203) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:03AM (#46161745) Homepage
    http://pigs-at-gchq.com/ [pigs-at-gchq.com] Do laws matter? When all agree to abide by a law it is called a social contract in English. “An agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for mutual social benefits, by safeguarding individual freedom for state protection.” The Oxford dictionary puts it this way: “Agreement among the members of a society or between a society and its rulers about the rights and duties of each.” The U.K. and the U.S. authorities have broken this agreement so badly in so many different ways that the future is not looking very good. Until they agree to keep within this social contract I will simply tell them at every opportunity to fuck off. Hope you do the same.
  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:11AM (#46161785) Homepage

    The police are not permitted to intentionally harrass or harm persons and property unless directly threatened.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:22AM (#46161869)

    The police are not permitted

    False. What we are finding is that a badge and gun are all the permit needed.

  • Re:Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AHuxley (892839) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:25AM (#46161911) Homepage Journal
    There is not 'exception to the rule' under UK law. You have to have some 'ok' from the gov to do this. The GCHQ staff understood that when they first collected all calls (domestic too) via their Intelsat efforts in the 1960's.
    The Intelligence Services Act of 1994 offers a lot of new legal protections, then the Intelligence and Security Committee, SIGMod (sigint modernisation) followed in mid 2000 with more legal backing. Open court use of material is still under GCHQ veto, most is "passed" to other groups, MI5, ~ Special Branch.
    The use of a "packet flood" back up would have been a new step beyond passive logging and longer term infiltrating efforts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:27AM (#46161929)

    But they're trying to stop T E R R O R I S T S ! ! !

    Protesters are not terrorists. Sadly our governments don't make that distinction.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:35AM (#46162003) Homepage

    Anonymous had already broken the social contract.

    I believe you'll find Anonymous is breaking the social contract because governments have already done so.

    You've completely missed the part where the GP said:

    "Agreement among the members of a society or between a society and its rulers about the rights and duties of each." The U.K. and the U.S. authorities have broken this agreement so badly in so many different ways that the future is not looking very good.

    I find it difficult to disagree with the notion that the governments have already broken the social contract, and Anonymous is a reaction to that.

    I don't necessarily agree with everything Anonymous does -- but I sure as hell understand the reason for them existing. When your rulers are unjust, you have little recourse except to break the social contract as well.

    That those same unjust governments decide that gives them free reign to continue to be unjust is just more of the same.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:52AM (#46162137)

    But they're trying to stop T E R R O R I S T S ! ! !

    Protesters are not terrorists. Sadly our governments don't make that distinction.

    No, that's not sad, it's quite terrifying. [theguardian.com]

    What's sad is that the secret agencies been treating activists like terrorists to maintain the corporate status quo since their inception over a century ago. [wikipedia.org] That's what "national security" is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @11:23AM (#46162423)

    And Anons are not "protestors" either. They're people who "protest" by illegally hacking government and business, not by peacefully protesting. So that's why the government reacts the way it does. If you weren't biased, you would see that.

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @11:41AM (#46162635)

    I believe you'll find Anonymous is breaking the social contract because governments have already done so.

    Perhaps you could explain then how attacking random people and corporations is a useful reaction? Anonymous aren't out to "enforce" the social contract but for "lulz" or to satisfy their pique. They are cyber vandals, little more. Anonymous is no more justified in most of what they do than most any other vigilante group.

    I don't necessarily agree with everything Anonymous does -- but I sure as hell understand the reason for them existing. When your rulers are unjust, you have little recourse except to break the social contract as well.

    Then you basically negate the social contract entirely since there will always be someone or some group that can claim that they have been treated unfairly, and we now move to the realm of vigilantes. I don't see them fighting for noble causes in the case of genuine oppression so much as petty grievances and fringe causes. They vandalize over the irk of the hour despite their noble claims.

    You will notice that they are heavily active in Western democracies which have many rights guarantees, social safety nets, and little or no meaningful political oppression. Perhaps you can tell us, what country would they not vandalize? Where can we find an order so universally just and beyond reproach from every viewpoint, including the insane, juvenile, or foreign, that it cannot be assailed?

    They neither support nor enforce the social contract, they undermine it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @11:47AM (#46162693)

    If you weren't biased, you would see that.

    I'm not biased. My comment was that governments consider protesters to be terrorists. Just take a look around the world today. How many countries are restricting, or trying to restrict, protesters and lock them away?

    Think back to the 2008 GOP Convention in NYC [wikipedia.org]. This isn't new, not even in "the West".

  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:03PM (#46162841) Homepage Journal

    It's illegal in most places for private citizens to lob military grade ordinance around, but not for Governments.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <.ten.3dlrow. .ta. .ojom.> on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @12:35PM (#46163161) Homepage

    The military can only use those weapons against other militarys and with direct authorization from the government. GCHQ feels it can use cyberattacks against citizens who had no, at the time, been convicted of or even charged with any sort of crime, with no oversight or authorization.

    At most the Anonymous DDOS attacks were a criminal matter for the police, not national security or warfare.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @01:15PM (#46163557)

    An Intelligence Officer is a criminal with a badge that makes it "ok". Seriously, it is their job to go into other countries and break their laws in order to gain information.

  • by Pav (4298) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:47PM (#46165125)
    ...and we all know the vastly less powerful are equally morally culpable. That's why bombing illiterate goat herding religious nuts is also universally accepted as the epitome of Great Justice. Just replace "angry citizen" in this analogy... how could anyone fail to see?
  • by Patch86 (1465427) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @04:03PM (#46165299)

    If government agents lobbed military-grade ordinance at innocent civilians in the UK, we'd call that unlawful killing and lock the bastards up. And by the same token, if GCHQ had DoS'd targets belonging to legitimate wartime enemies, we wouldn't be criticizing them.

    As a rough rule of thumb, the government isn't allowed to do things to citizens above and beyond what any civilian could do without a court mandate or a valid piece of legislation. Unless GCHQ have such a thing, they did wrong.

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