Cyberwars are real, but not what you think

2011-05-26 14:08:33 by chort

It struck me today that events are in motion for unavoidable cyber-conflicts. This statement won't shock anyone, since sensationalists have been predicting "a digital Pearl Harbor" for years. I don't agree with the predictions. In fact, I don't think it's likely that any warfare-like confrontations between nation states in cyberspace will happen in the near future. Sure there's rampant electronic espionage, but that hardly counts as warfare.

I think we're already seeing the beginning skirmishes in far more important events. We've seen protestors in various oppressed countries fighting to circumvent filtering and outright disconnection. We've seen massive DDoS attacks against draconian "Big Content" companies in retaliation for their heavy-handed treatment of their own customers. We've seen resourceful people overcome collateral damage caused by clumsy and ignorant government attempts to censor the Internet right here in the United States.

I don't see these events as anomalies or outliers. I see them as precursors. I think there's a strong undercurrent of opposition to the increasing attempts by governments and extremely large corporations to infringe on individual rights. In spite of that, It seems executives of these corporations are determined to forge ahead with rights-trampling legislation to restrict how individuals can access the Internet.

So what happens when out-of-touch elites try to enforce their will on the vast unwashed masses? That's when you get cyberwar. The people enacting new surveillance and censorship measures are forgetting that digital is the great equalizer. Any kid with a $200 laptop can take down a multi-billion dollar corporation. The more laws Big Content lobbyists have passed to make life miserable for average citizens, the more Anonymous* members they are going to create. It's difficult, although not impossible (as dramatically shown in the middle east this year) to physically resist power. To digitally resist power is nearly effortless. Those in favor of extreme enforcement of content "rights" are picking a fight they cannot reasonably be expected to win. The only question is how long it will take them to lose.

*To be clear, I'm not now, nor do I ever plan on being a member of Anonymous.

De Facto Wars

2011-05-05 00:12:03 by chort

Recently I became involved in a debate with Jacob Appelbaum regarding the legality of US forces killing Osama bin Laden. Jacob contends that bringing bin Laden to justice is essentially a law enforcement matter and as such he is afforded a trial (making his recent death illegal). I disagree. Due to the limitations of Twitter we were not able to have real debate. I'm going to present my side here.

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