Should DDoS be Protected as Free Speech?

I read an article today, that quoted the lawyer representing some Anonymous folks saying that he thinks DDoS is a form of free speech, and should be protected as such. He equated it to the civil rights demonstrations where people would crowd a venue to the point that “Legitimate” customers were unable to use their services. While I can understand the logic, I find fundamental flaws with this argument.

In the cases of Sit-in protests, each participant is willingly making the free speech statement involved in shutting down the offending business for that day or period of time. in most, if not all cases of DDoS, it is done with the aid of bot nets, or zombie computers. this means that the people infected with the bot net virus, or other form of compromise, are most times unaware their computer is being used in such a form of protest. That means it is inherently NOT free speech, because the person who is making the statement (each zombie, or bot) is not intentionally making said speech, and would likely not even agree with the protest.

However, if the attack was legitimately conducted by thousands of people jointly flooding the site willingly, I can agree with the argument. That would be pure protest. My issue is that too often it is using unwilling, and unknowing participants to perpetrate the attack.

However, if it is protected free speech, does that mean we as white-hats, or even grey-hats be able to use the same form of attack against our targets or causes that we disagree with? In short, I think that legalizing DDoS attacks because they are “Free Speech” I believe opens a pandora’s box. If it was legalized, I think we would honestly see a much larger scale of attacks against companies, causes, and individuals increase dramatically. That would be the same as giving loaded guns to convicts upon their release from prison. Yes, guns are not illegal, and shouldn’t be, but there are restrictions applied to those who have demonstrated they lack the responsibility to handle guns in a safe way.

I created a poll, to see what you all think

2 responses to “Should DDoS be Protected as Free Speech?

  1. The problem here is that it is often difficult to discern 1 thousand people using LOIC and 1 thousand people being forced to attack a site. From a pure legal standpoint there is no way to know whether or not someone was part of a botnet or was just running LOIC themselves. Digital protests and “Analog” ones are quite different and there should be no attempt to find commonalities between the two.

    If DDoS is legal it shouldn’t be because it is a digital “sit-in”, it should be because it is fucking legal on its own merit. If I created a giant moat around a business to keep people from getting into the business would that be seen as an architectural sit-in? Of course not, it’d be seen as destruction of property and I’d get my ass handed to me.

    DDoS creates REAL damage to REAL systems whereas a sit-in does not. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to deal with the aftermath of a DDoS attack but I’ve had to change out routers due to the fact that they simply decided to call it quits midway through the attack. Destruction of property isn’t protest, it’s just a crime.


    • exactly! my point was mainly to counter point that it is “Free Speech”, I don’t think it should be legal at all, but that is for the courts to hash out. I was simply saying its bullshit to call it free speech. I have seen routers blow up and stop working from attacks. a very valid point that I didn’t even consider.