Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Can we get an adult up in here?

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    But Wikileaks / Anonymous aren't the same entity. I'm assuming that Anonymous hacked the emails and credit card data and then passed the content to Wikileaks.

    Who in turn passed the content to the SST, etc.

    Are we saying that all these entities are accessories after the fact (legally / morally) to the hacking? Or that the downstream recipients (including the rest of us) should refuse to receive that "tainted" information.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    But Wikileaks / Anonymous aren’t the same entity. I’m assuming that Anonymous hacked the emails and credit card data and then passed the content to Wikileaks.

    Who in turn passed the content to the SST, etc.

    Yup.

    Are we saying that all these entities are accessories after the fact (legally / morally) to the hacking? Or that the downstream recipients (including the rest of us) should refuse to receive that “tainted” information.

    None of the above. I'm saying that a little less adolescent triumphalism would have served the public a lot better.

    Wikileaks is responsible only to the extent that it has a dialogue with Anonymous and can say "okay, guys, here's how to help us without totally undermining what we're trying to to". And Anonymous being what it is, it's hard to know what that extent is. But ... arrgh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Indeed. But with Anonymous being amorphous and leaderless, I doubt they are easy to dialogue with. (they may, for all I know, have left a memory stick in a left-luggage locker on a European railway station*)

    Anyways (and this is description, not advocacy):

    - Anonymous are a non-violent, non-legal direct action group. More like the Sea Shepherd than Greenpeace. Getting them to change this model is like persuading Paul Watson to give up ramming Japanese whalers and switch to importuning passers-by for monthly direct debits.

    - There is a model for anti-state action by small groups that has been fairly successful:
    - Group perpetrates actions (of a damaging, annoying or lethal nature)
    - State cracks down against group and its (perceived) supporters
    - Support community becomes "radicalised" by this
    - Group increases in size and abilities
    - Repeat until state backs down and makes concessions

    Worked for Haganah, the IRA, the ANC. Didn't work for the Angry Brigade, Baader-Meinhof - they failed to get momentum before getting caught.

    The difficulty for Anonymous is the (apparent) lack of goals or structure, which, if it continues, would make the negotiation stage hard.

    * Disclaimer: if this turns out to be the case, I know nothing. Blame John Le Carre.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Worked for Haganah, the IRA, the ANC. Didn't work for the Angry Brigade, Baader-Meinhof - they failed to get momentum before getting caught.

    Actually, no, it didn't work for the IRA. The IRA failed to reach their goal of a united free Ireland and will almost certainly never reach that goal. It didn't work for the ANC: black people in South Africa didn't need to be "radicalised" by the actions of apartheid police against the ANC, they were radicalised by the actions of apartheid police in enforcing apartheid!

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • tatjna, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Last time I checked, Anonymous didn't exist to serve the public.

    I'm always amused by the way Anonymous is great when it does what people think it should and terrible when it doesn't.

    I think publishing credit card details is misguided and dangerous, but I laughed my head off and went "Yeeaaah!" when the HBGary Federal stuff went down. Such is the nature of Anonymous. I doubt anyone will be able to say "Hey guys... tone it down" and get a result. And unless it was Wikileaks that published the credit card details, I doubt much of that will reflect on them, only on Anonymous.

    @Rich When the arrests were made last year over Operation Payback, the popularity of Anonymous skyrocketed.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Are we saying that all these entities are accessories after the fact (legally / morally) to the hacking?

    Would you be asking the question if this was a Murdoch tabloid publishing the credit card details of Greenpeace donors? As Russell said, I fail to see even the most feeble public interest defense of publishing anyone’s credit card details.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    a Murdoch tabloid publishing the credit card details of Greenpeace donors?

    I don't think we're expecting a double-page spread of CC numbers in Sunday's SST.

    (Given their precarious finances, they'd probably just sign everyone on the list up for a year's subscription).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The people whose credit card details were published all deserve it – they part of the global elite that fuck over workers everywhere. A teansy tiny taste of their own medicine is great to see. Posting your outrage at the temerity of a non-government organisation engaging in political crimes is beyond ironic considering you are probably doing so from a Mac made in serf-like conditions in Chinese factories by a company that sacked tens of thousands of American workers in order to get that dirt cheap labour in China. Who can say who the criminals are these days?

    You naively assume this about journalistic ethics. That has been left way, way behind. This is part of a war. Very powerful corporate elites are going to be out to get Anonymous & Wikileaks. Credit card details? Credit card details? Really? What do you think would happen to any member of Anonymous if the US government – increasingly little more than a corrupt front organisation for global capital – found out who they were? Credit card details wouldn’t be the half of it. You’ll see them labelled terrorists, and treated like an enemy right down to the Supermax.

    Wars have different rules. In a war, one man’s criminal is another man’s freedom fighter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    This is part of a war.

    Wars are won through discipline.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    How are the Cactus boys doing with a bozo filter?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1701 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Wars have different rules. In a war, one man’s criminal is another man’s freedom fighter.

    Must...not...Godwin. But I'm sure there are plenty of far-right theo-con folks who feel exactly the same about abortion... I mean, baby-killing scum. I guess abortion clinic workers who've found their addresses, phone numbers and the location of their kids' schools need to suck it up and remember inter arma enim silent leges.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    Some comments in this piece claiming to be from the anon group involved:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/feb/27/anonymous-splinter-group-antisec-waging-war

    I'm not sure how I feel about it to be honest. I'm not outraged, I know that much. I think it's interesting, and I don't think it's journalism. Therefore I don't think the 'public interest' stick is the right one to be using. Whatever I think about the grous goals, I think i should judge it's actions on their effectiveness, or something like that.

    I do think it's funny that Stratfor were pushing to get on the 'gravy train' provided by wikileaks et al, and found that their own systems were not immune from the people regularly described as 'know nothing script kiddies' by various pundits and insidery types. That the credit card details got leaked is a part of that. There is a puncturing of egos and carefully maintained images going on.

    And sure, it sucks that people will have to get new cards, but there are greater collateral damages in the world. I'm also pretty sure that if any of those responsible for the leak are caught, they'll pay the price, and that they are aware of that fact.

    Also, I personally think that the main responsibility for keeping secrets secret belongs to the people promising to keep them secret, not with hackers and people like WL.

    But again, I'm ultimately undecided, and watching with an amused interest.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 193 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    They'll use whatever Danyl comes up with :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15739 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    The people whose credit card details were published all deserve it – they part of the global elite that fuck over workers everywhere.

    It's a real shame that you don't have a clue what you're on about.

    Here's a list of 2756 people who had their accounts compromised and in some cases their credit card details published, filtered for .nz addresses.

    There are a few familiar names -- the journalist Pattrick Smellie, VuW associate professor Jim Veitch, VuW researcher Tim Beal (a friend of Matt Robson's) , Selwyn Manning at Scoop, a few police and parliamentary addresses and ... well, mostly a lot of ordinary folks. An orthodontist, someone who works at The Mill liquor store, lots of people on xtra and ihug addresses. At least one person who comments regularly at this site.

    Should I go on, or are you sufficiently embarrassed now?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And further:

    So far, two lists of credit card details have been published to the Internet by Anonymous members, one containing 3956 items, the other with 13,191 items. Some of those numbers have apparently been used to donate large sums of money to charitable organizations such as the American Red Cross and CARE.

    While to some it may appear that Anonymous is acting as an Information Age Robin Hood, it may not be doing anyone any favors by ringing up unauthorized charges on other people's credit cards. "These donations will never reach the ones in need," writes security guru Mikko Hypponen at F-Secure. "In fact, these actions will just end up hurting the charities, not helping them."

    "When credit card owners see unauthorized charges on their cards, they will report them to their bank or credit card company," he explains. "Credit card companies will do a chargeback to the charities, which will have to return the money. In some cases, charities could be hit with penalties. At the very least, they will lose time and money in handling chargebacks."

    Awesome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Alex Coleman,

    And sure, it sucks that people will have to get new cards, but there are greater collateral damages in the world. I’m also pretty sure that if any of those responsible for the leak are caught, they’ll pay the price, and that they are aware of that fact.

    Also, I personally think that the main responsibility for keeping secrets secret belongs to the people promising to keep them secret, not with hackers and people like WL.

    Agreed there – Stratfor’s security practices seem to have been hopeless. I still don’t think that justifies the wholesale publication of the details they were supposed to be keeping safe.

    Most people didn’t have their card details published – although many did and it seems quite random -- but most people also re-use passwords and those were all published alongside their email addresses. They’ve presumably been scraped already by scammers, spammers and crooks.

    There’s just no justification for doing this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Um, namesake, I believe you're referring to the Nuremberg Files incident in 2000, in which a US anti-abortion terrorist group called for 'justifiable homicide' of abortion providers and then published personal details online- whereupon these personal details were used to assassinate some of them. However, the details were derrived from public register data, openly accessible to the public- which raises questions of its own.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 357 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    The HBGary leak has easily been Anonymous' best by a long shot. And by the looks of things, there are far more worthy targets than Stratfor. Such as Karl Rove, the neo-cons' turd-polishers-in-chief.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3907 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I agree that Anonymous haven't done what would be most responsible or just or effective, but that's not who or what they are. They're a bunch of adolescents, literally or figuratively, who do it for the lulz. I understand it's frustrating, but this whole post seems like a non sequitur to me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Sacha,

    Shall I ask DIA to help?
    #innocent

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1701 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    They’re a bunch of adolescents, literally or figuratively, who do it for the lulz.

    Doesn't mean they shouldn't act morally. They won't, but.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    They won’t, but.

    Here we are in complete agreement.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Craig Young,

    However, the details were derrived from public register data, openly accessible to the public- which raises questions of its own.

    No, you're quite right. But I'd hate to think what far-right loons would do with a hacked copy of Planned Parenthood's donor records. Using Semmens logic, they're supporting infanticide so fuck them.

    Agreed there – Stratfor’s security practices seem to have been hopeless. I still don’t think that justifies the wholesale publication of the details they were supposed to be keeping safe.

    Quite - and let me draw an analogy here. I'm working at the dining room table with the ranchslider open. If I go to the toilet and come back to discover someone passing by opportunistically hooked off with my laptop, does my poor security somehow mitigate or even justify that I got burgled?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Would you be asking the question if this was a Murdoch tabloid publishing the credit card details of Greenpeace donors? As Russell said, I fail to see even the most feeble public interest defense of publishing anyone’s credit card details.

    The question Rich asked was whether we were holding wikileaks responsible for anonymous' actions (which would be tenuous to outright ridiculous).

    You've then said you'd hold a tabloid responsible for doing what anonymous did, and implied wikileaks should therefore be held responsible.

    I don't think it's the public interest you're failing to see.

    A more appropriate simile would be holding the dom post responsible for what the sunday star times has published. Or really, holding a newspaper responsible for the myspace page of a 14 year old.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 196 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Quite - and let me draw an analogy here. I'm working at the dining room table with the ranchslider open. If I go to the toilet and come back to discover someone passing by opportunistically hooked off with my laptop, does my poor security somehow mitigate or even justify that I got burgled?

    If you'd been using your laptop to clandestinely obtain data on the neighbourhood kids (who you suspected were messing up floral borders) and then your laptop was stolen by one of those kids. When the contents of your laptop gets published along with the credit card details of all the people who have been paying you to spy on those kids (and others), are you really the aggrieved party?

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

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