Anonymous has released an open letter to the UK government in response to the arrest of five of its members yesterday, labelling the arrests as “a sad mistake” and “a serious declaration of war”.
Anonymous claimed that the arrests reveal that the UK government does not understand the political and technological reality of the modern world and considers the move a declaration of war against Anonymous.
Anonymous said that traditional forms of protest, such as picketing and sit-ins, are now little more than “an empty, ritualised gesture of discontent”. It said that people are looking for new ways to make politicians wake up and hear the cry of the people.
It claimed that the use of Distributed Denial of Service (DdoS) attacks is simply the technological equivalent to blocking access to a building in a traditional form of protest. It said that it was “irrelevant” where the infrastructure was located, either in the real world or in cyberspace.
Anonymous also said that their DDoS attacks do not constitute as hacking, since they only flood a server with traffic and don’t gain unauthorised access to a computer or network, the definition of hacking used in law.
It claimed that arresting someone for a DDoS attack is like arresting someone for a peaceful demonstration, a view which is unlikely to wash with the police. It also accused the UK government of being hypocritical in hunting down Anonymous DDoSers but ignoring those who previously DDoSed Wikileaks, and it said that it has concluded that the arrests are “politically motivated”.
Of course, it’s not the ringleaders of Anonymous who get arrested, but the Average Joes who are invited to download and employ DDoS tools, often without the use of a proxy server or other forms of online identity protection. These individuals face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of £5,000 ($7,957), a sentence which Anonymous labelled as “ridiculous”.
This means that the attacks can still be masterminded and orchestrated by hackers who know how to keep their identity secret, with disgruntled citizens taking the fall. “You can easily arrest individuals, but you cannot arrest an ideology,” Anonymous stated, suggesting that it will continue its attacks regardless of how many people get arrested.
If any of the head honchos do get caught, they can always use that in their defence, that they can’t be one of the ringleaders or they wouldn’t have gotten caught. That doesn’t stop them from receiving a potentially hefty fine and prison sentence though.
Anonymous said that it will cross any borders to achieve its aim and that the UK government should take its message as a “serious warning”. It requested that its fellow members be released.
With the FBI issuing 40 warrants today as part of its investigation into the attacks, this situation is likely to escalate even further.