Online mischief makers Anonymous are set to launch a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on the website of the US Chamber of Commerce later today, in retaliation for the organisation’s support for the draft PROTECT IP Act.
The ‘hacktivist’ collective announced it would launch the DDoS attack at 20:00 Eastern Standard Time.
If passed, the ‘Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property’ Act – ‘PROTECT IP’, for short – will allow US Justice Department officials to force ISPs and search engines to block access to web sites it believes to be infringing US copyright laws, and would require other companies such as advertising network providers and payment processors to cease doing business with them.
In order to obtain a preliminary court order that the site is ‘dedicated to infringing activities’, the Justice Department must show that a web site is directed at US consumers and harms holders of US intellectual property.
The draft legislation has the backing of both sides of the US political spectrum, and US government sources say the bill has already gathered a lot of support among legislators – chiefly due to the lobbying activities of groups representing rights holders and big business, including the MPAA, Viacom, Mastercard, Sony and Disney.
The US Chamber of Commerce is being targeted for its outspoken support for the bill, which critics accuse of having disastrous implications for freedom of speech and the open exchange of information online.
Anonymous isn’t the only group actively resisting the draconian legislations; within the corporate world, Google has stated it will go on fighting the bill even if it is passed. Speaking in London on 18th May, Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said:
“If there is a law that requires DNS [domain name systems, the protocol that allows users to connect to Web sites], to do x, and it’s passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president of the United States, and we disagree with it, then we would still fight it… If it’s a request, the answer is we wouldn’t do it; if it’s a discussion, we wouldn’t do it.”
“Times are changing,” says hacking hive-mind Anonymous, which accuses industries such as Hollywood – which the group says will still make billions regardless of what gets distributed on the Internet – of doing everything in its power to maintain the status quo, “moulding legislation to increase profits rather than protect civil liberties.”