WASHINGTON, D.C. – It looks like an online petition seeking to have distributed denial-of-service actions against computer systems recognized as a legitimate form of protest will not gain enough signatures to merit an official response from the White House.
Just over 6,000 people have signed the petition since Jan. 7, far short of the 25,000 signatures needed within a 30-day period to earn an official response.
The petition likens distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) actions to a new way of holding a sit-in. “It is the equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage,” the petition states. “It is, in that way, no different than any ‘occupy’ protest. Instead of a group of people standing outside a building to occupy the area, they are having their computer occupy a website to slow (or deny) service of that particular website for a short time.”
DDoS actions are not the work of people sitting at computers hitting the “refresh” button over and over again. Instead, they are often the work of an individual or small group who use software tools to manipulate a network of computers infected by malware to overwhelm a targeted computer. The owners of the individual computers are usually unaware that their machines are being used for that purpose.
The petitioner demands “ those who have been jailed for DDoS should be immediatly (sic) released and have anything regarding a DDoS, that is on their ‘records’, cleared.”
DDoS actions have been used to protest against companies who attempted to silence WikiLeaks, an international non-profit organization that publishes news leaks and classified government documents and other secret information it believes is in the public interest.