In a petition submitted to the White House’s “We the People” website, Anonymous hacktivists are asking the Obama administration to make distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks a legal form of protesting.“With the advance in internet techonology, comes new grounds for protesting. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), is not any form of hacking in any way. It is the equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage,” the initiators of the petition wrote.
“It is, in that way, no different than any ‘occupy’ protest. Instead of a group of people standing outside a building to occupy the area, they are having their computer occupy a website to slow (or deny) service of that particular website for a short time,” they added.
“As part of this petition, those who have been jailed for DDoS should be immediately released and have anything regarding a DDoS, that is on their ‘records’, cleared.”
Hacktivists have often used DDOS attacks in their protests. It was their “weapon” of choice when US authorities took down the popular Megaupload file sharing service.
At the time, they disrupted numerous high-profile websites, including the ones of the FBI, the US Department of Justice, the White House, and ones belonging to the motion picture industry.
They've also utilized DDOS attacks to protest against Israel and the Syrian government.
The petition, created on January 7, has been signed by 814 individuals. However, in order for it to be taken into consideration, it needs to be signed by 25,000 people by February 6.
Official Anonymous communication channels have hundreds of thousands of followers, so getting 25,000 signatures shouldn’t really be an issue. However, some supporters might be discouraged to do so because those who sign the petition are required to create a whitehouse.gov account.