After news got out that the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was signed by 22 European Union member countries, plans to protest intensified, but for now, distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks were replaced with more diplomatic approaches.
Before the agreement was signed Anonymous hackers started launching DDOS attacks in Poland against government sites as a form of protest. But just before the voting on the treaty began in Tokyo, after consultations with non-government organizations, the hacktivist realized that this approach may not have been the best and stopped.
Of course, since Anonymous is a loose-knit collective, some of its members did take down the official website of the European Parliament for a few hours, while others, as part of OpDownWithACTA, are currently DDOSing the website of Copyright Alliance, an organization that fights for the rights of copyright holders.
The attacks can’t be compared to the ones launched against the FBI, DOJ, RIAA, MPAA when the hackers were protesting against the Megaupload closure and SOPA, Copyright Alliance’s site being only intermittently down.
Currently 387 Internet users are online on the IRC channel dedicated to the ACTA protest, far fewer than the ones involved in the anti-SOPA movements.
In the real world, more interesting protests are taking place. Forbes reported that members of the Polish Parliament showed their support for the anti-ACTA protest, initiated by Anonymous by wearing Guy Fawkes masks.
Pirate Parties from all over Europe released statements, condemning the new agreement, calling on citizens to raise awareness by protesting against it.
In Brussels, street protests are planned for this afternoon, other major cities preparing to do the same in the upcoming period.
Now, even Anonymous official channels call people for live protests, admitting that in this case DDOS attacks may not be the best answer.
While the ones that support ACTA claim that it will not censor, or shut down websites, and it will not restrict freedom on the Internet, its sole purpose being to protect the rights of artists, others say that the agreement will do just that, most fearing that it’s even more dangerous than SOPA.