ricardo dominguez on Tue, 1 May 2001 23:08:39 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> May Day hysteria unfounded, say activists

May Day hysteria unfounded, say activists
By Rachel Munro
Mon, 30 Apr 2001 14:38:27 GMT
URL: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2001/17/ns-22533.html

Net activists speak out against May Day panicmongering by security firms

Internet activists have spoken out today against misinformation they claim
is being spread by IT security consultants about possible cyberthreats
stemming from Tuesday's May Day protests.

Business development director at security firm MIS Matt Tomlinson warns on
one IT Web site that: "groups such as the e-hippie collective, which
attacks e-businesses, are boasting around 15,000 members worldwide...
Corporates still have a reason to be worried. There's nothing to say
groups won't carry out denial-of-service attacks, which are hard to defend

But Paul Mobbs, media and technical coordinator for the Electrohippie
Collective, said: "We are aware that some IT security consultants have
been spreading spurious stories about the electrohippies and a number of
actions and events over the next few months. The only thing we know about
at the moment is the next WTO meeting in Qatar for November."

A newsletter from corporate security firm iDefense warns: "While last
year's May Day protests were marked by a certain degree of Internet
organisation and street violence, preparations for protests [this year],
have seen far more activity and a growing awareness by activists that the
soft underbelly of capitalism lies in corporate Internet infrastructure."

It supports this by quoting from a post on an anti-capitalist bulletin
board: "[A] single day of action will not impact on the capitalists'
ability to exploit -- the only thing these people understand is the profit
margin. Therefore, our best line of attack should be to attack them where
it counts most -- economically. The best means to do so is to attack the
infrastructure of their electronic systems."

Idefense, unlike MIS, admits that the Electrohippies Collective is not
planning to get involved in cyberprotests on this occasion, but alleges
that RTMark has been planning a "May Day virus" -- a virus that shuts down
computers on May Day, flashing a message about workers' rights and time

However, RTMark spokesperson Frank Guerrero said that all that is being
planned is a cyberboycott, to be launched on 1 May: "It's not quite as
flashy as a virtual sit-in [as staged by the e-hippie collective during
the FTAA protests (http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2001/15/ns-22370.html) in
Quebec], but I think it's even more important."

Another spokesperson for RTMark, Ray Thomas, says: "IDefense seems to be
very reliably unreliable, if not hysterical. What they said about the
actors in the anti-eToys efforts
(http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/1999/49/ns-12194.html) revealed even more
cluelessness -- though they seem to have self-censored that bit of history
from their archives."

The last year has seen a surge in hacktivism
(http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2000/44/ns-18954.html) -- people using
virtual methods to promote political and ethical causes, such as GM food
protests (http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2000/10/ns-14117.html).

Cofounder of ethical Web consultancy OpenConcept Mike Gifford, who also
works on alternative news site rabble.ca, agrees that the Internet gives a
new platform to those trying to promote causes: "It has been useful to
share resources and information online. Tactics, news, stories, facts and
new reports. However corporations are using the same technology with much
greater resources at their disposal."

He doesn't believe virtual sit-ins such as that staged by the
Electrohippies have much impact, believing that "spoof" sites such as
www.gatt.org and www.whirledbank.org are "much more effective forms of

The cyberboycott that Guerrero mentions is aimed at getting people to
switch to ISPs such as Thing.Net and to switch DNS to companies such as
Name.Space from companies such as Network Solutions which, claims a
Name.Space press release, "sells databases to marketers and anyone else
who pays".

"By registering a name using the new domain extensions with Name.Space you
are also becoming a part of the struggle to preserve free speech and
access in an increasingly hostile climate of censorship," says the

Take me to Hackers

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