It's hard to imagine a group that adheres to anarchic ideology would want its actions legalized under U.S. law. But that is exactly what Anonymous is doing.
The loose-knit group of hackers submitted a petition to President Obama this week asking that distributed denial-of-service attacks be recognized as a legal form of protest.
The petition, which is posted on the White House's "We the People" Web site, claims that DDoS attacks are not illegal hacking but rather a way for people to carry out protests online. Similar to the Occupy movement when protesters pitched tents in public spaces, the petition says DDoS attacks also occupy public spaces in order to send a message.
With the advance in internet techonology [sic], 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. 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.
As part of this petition, those who have been jailed for DDoS should be immediatly [sic] released and have anything regarding a DDoS, that is on their "records", cleared.
Anonymous has claimed responsibility for many DDoS attacks over the years, the majority of which had political overtones. For example, in an effort to defend WikiLeaks in 2010, the hacking groupon companies, government agencies, and organizations it believed to be "impairing" WikiLeaks' efforts to release classified information.
This year, Anonymous has also led DDoS campaignsfor the government's alleged shutdown of the Internet; and it has conducted a "cyberwar" in protest of government attacks on Gaza.
The U.S. government may be hard pressed to accept Anonymous' plea. Just yesterday, news hit that the massive DDoS campaign that has been targeting several U.S. banks is most likely . It seems that it would be difficult for the U.S. government to accept this cyberattack as merely a legal form of protest.
Since Anonymous doesn't have any particular structure or leader, it's unclear who in the movement actually sent in this petition and agrees with what it's asking of the government. So far, the request has gained little traction. It needs 25,000 signatures just for Obama to respond, and as of this writing it has only 729 signatures.
Whether Anonymous gets the ear of Obama or not, it's looking like the group's DDoS attacks will continue. Earlier this month, Anonymous announced, "Expect us 2013," and said that it has. "We are still here," it warned.