- May 31, 2020 at 19:24 #6853
The idea that the uproar following the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin would result in a cyber attack would perhaps not be immediately obvious; street protests and riots were of course to be expected, but in the modern world, social activism has as much of a place online as it does on the streets.
It appears that Anonymous, arguably the most prolific of all hacktivist groups, targeted the websites of the Minneapolis Police Department and the City of Minneapolis in retaliation for Floyd’s murder, with both websites being inaccessible by late May 30. Both websites were still experiencing problems early on May 31, sporadically requiring visitors to enter “captchas” verifying they weren’t bots in a front-end hosted by internet security firm Cloudflare — a signal the sites were experiencing a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, designed to render an internet service unusable by flooding it with bogus traffic.
The disruption to the Minneapolis municipal sites came after a Facebook page claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous released a video on May 28 which has now been viewed over 1.8 million times, and features a figure wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and an electronically altered voiceover, both common features of the group’s multimedia.
The full statement of the video reads: “Officers who kill people and commit other crimes need to be held accountable just like the rest of us. Otherwise, they will believe that they have a license to do whatever they want. People have had enough of this corruption and violence from an organization that promises to keep them safe. After the events of the past few years, many people are beginning to learn that you are not here to save us but rather you are here to oppress us and carry out the will of the criminal ruling class. You are here to keep order for the people in control, not to provide safety for the people who are controlled. In fact, you are the very mechanism that elites use to continue their global system of oppression. These officers must face criminal charges and officer Chauvin especially should face murder charges. Unfortunately, we do not trust your corrupt organization to carry out justice so will be exposing your many crimes to the world. We are legion. Expect us.”
This is not the first instance of Anonymous using its cyber attack capabilities to further social causes; in 2016, the group publicly declared its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and earlier in 2014 leaked police recordings and the names of suspects after the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was unlawfully murdered by police officer Darren Wilson.
Cyber attacks to further social causes will undoubtedly become a staple part of activism and protests; indeed, they may even take precedence over street activism, since more harm can perhaps now be done online than by physically disrupting city streets. Yet one may also wonder if Anonymous and groups of its kind – which almost always seem to have a left-wing standpoints – might consider using its demonstrably effective resources to target injustice elsewhere in the world. The West, despite being far from a perfect place (with America having a plethora of problems of its own related to justice, freedom and equality, problems that should not necessarily be pinned on Europe and other Western countries), is still the most fair system of societies the world has to offer. Perhaps Anonymous should function more like the governments it claims to hate, and think of a foreign policy – after all, if the death of George Floyd deserves a response, so does China’s increasingly ill-treatment of black people living in its country, or the suspicious deaths of doctors in Russia who have criticised the Kremlin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It remains to be seen whether the group’s outrage and burning desire for social justice will extend to foreign borders: perhaps – it is still, in the grand scheme of the world, rather a new organisation protesting in rather a new way. Or perhaps not; after all, unlike when activists hit out at the American government, aggressively attacking Moscow or Beijing can have rather more unpleasant and tangible consequences.June 1, 2020 at 17:11 #6859
The loss of human life is a tragedy. However what caught my attention most is the ease with which the system/site of a state security service can be breached. This raises a question:
how can state security services protect citizens when they can’t protect themselves?!
The police seem to be way behind when it comes to cyber security capabilities, and cyber criminals seem to be years ahead!June 1, 2020 at 18:17 #6861
Technology has changed a lot of aspects of our lives, moving them to the virtual world. As u mentioned in ur article revolutions have generally moved from the street to social media platforms online.
While cyber attacks may be illegal, some may have noble intentions, such as exposing the truth! Some news reports for instance produced medical reports claiming that Floyd died of natural causes, while video footage from a mobile phone showed a different story (the truth).
Cyber attacks even if they have good intentions, can be easily manipulated to create and/or spread chaos. The aftermath of the breach saw demonstrations n stores being burnt n robbed.June 8, 2020 at 14:42 #6926
George Floyd is not the first victim of police brutality in the US. Brutality that is not sanctioned at state or federal level requires a proportionate and reasonable response. What is needed is a review of policing guidelines, and a stricter regime which regulates the assessment of threat an individual poses to a police officer in his line of duty.
Furthermore we must recognize that racial profiling occurs every day around the world. One only needs look at the injustices spanning the globe to understand how self nourishing fear is, and how disastrous intolerance is. Indeed one only needs to look at the number of unarmed Palestinian civilians shot at, injured or killed by heavily armed Israeli occupation forces to realize that military might, superiority and influence do not remedy fear or intolerance. The margin of appreciation when it comes to assessing threat is ambiguous to say the least.
Likewise US citizens living in poverty or beneath the international poverty line in areas that are ridden with crime and violence are entrapped in a vicious circle. This vicious circle feeds violence in all social aspects, the police are reactionary and a lot of the times share the upbringing of the community they are sworn to police.
In today’s day and age we must learn with a careful examination of popular protest in every continent, the world over, some valuable lessons. Protests in Ukraine, The Arab Spring, Venezuela and the US ‘anti racism’ protests all share a common thread; violence. This violence is more often than not promoted and propagate by carefully administered social media campaigns. The intelligence services of every single nation are aware of the massive power social media poses, and are employing cyber task forces to jump on the band wagon and hijack protests for ulterior motives.
‘Police is bad’ reminds one of George Orwell’s Animal Farm novel and the notion of four legs is good, two legs is bad. Attacking the police as a whole is discriminatory, and does not reflect well on a supposedly enlightened free nation. The rule of law must endure, or civil society will disintegrate into chaos. In times of chaos, extreme social infringement, and desperation it is all too easy to find comfort in radical ideas that alienate and ostracize distinct segments of the population.
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