Some outlets are reporting that Operation Payback, Anonymous' two-month campaign against the forces of copyright, has concluded, while the homepage for the raid claims that the group has simply decided to change tactics in an attempt to legitimize itself.
Either way, it seems like the wave of denial-of-service attacks against targets like the RIAA, Gene Simmons and the U.S. copyright office have come to an end -- at least for now.
As part of my research, I lurked on a number of forums associated with Operation Payback -- I hung out on various IRC channels, and watched threads about the raid on 4chan -- and made some fascinating discoveries: the chat forums were populated by people from all over the world, the attacks consisted mainly of people using various flooding programs (such as the Low Orbit Ion Cannon pictured above) but some anons claimed to be using botnets as well, the sites and servers used by the group were just as likely to be the targets of DoS attacks as they were to wage them, there is no consensus within the community that Operation Payback is the right thing to do, and many users claimed that the raids were their first forays into the world of electronic (civil) disobedience.
However, it's not those findings that I want to talk about today. At the moment, I'm more interested in interrogating the role of DoS attacks in the contemporary political landscape of the internet.
Anonymous has no shortage of detractors. Some claim the group's antics inflame moral panics about online security and lend credence to arguments for tighter control of the internet. Others point out the hypocrisy of advocating free speech while simultaneously taking down a musician's website because of statements he made regarding piracy.