Denial of Service Attacks are Blunt Instruments of Aggression

…Even if well-intentioned.

 A recent outage of the BBC website illustrates the unintended consequences of Denial of Service attacks. The hackers claimed it was a ‘practice run’ before attacks on global terrorist sites. Many millions of BBC website users have suspicions about the intentions and judgement of the perpetrators.

 Like vigilantes roaming streets and subways, the initiators of DOS attacks have a comfortable line in self-assurance of their motives.  But so do other warriors who claim to be acting in our (the public) interests.

Some years ago I watched the trial in Miami of George Zimmerman, a self-appointed guardian of his neighbourhood. He had gunned down a suspicious figure. His defence was the Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ right to defend yourself against harm.

The jury of six women found Zimmerman not guilty of the charges of second-degree murder and not guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. The case roused heated debate which anticipated the escalating attention paid to justice procedures for victims of ‘death for walking in a public place while being black’.

‘Not in my name’

Muslims in Paris and subsequently around the world protested the bloodshed claimed to be in the name of their religion visited on journalists and bystanders in the Charlie Hebdo offices.

More recently,  a bystander captured the spirit of the rejection of action ‘in my name’ calling out to a knife wielding activist on a London Subway station recently

‘You ain’t no Muslim, bro.’

 Omelettes and eggs

This is not an argument against individuals making a personal stand against what they perceive as enemies of freedom of rights. But it is a commonplace assertion that a freedom fighter for some will be seen as a terrorist for others.

Denial of Service attacks may indeed be supported as a means of weakening those who deny even more basic human rights. The fundamental dilemma remains, and it is more complex than the argument made by one revolutionary leader that you cannot make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

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