Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Modern times

"A loose confederation of online troublemakers who call themselves Anonymous have declared war on the Church of Scientology by flooding its servers with fake data requests, describing the attacks as punishment for the Church's alleged abuse of copyright laws and alleged brainwashing of its members." As was probably inevitable in such struggles, there's been some collateral damage to innocent parties. A "59-year-old PG&E worker and his wife, who were mistakenly flagged as pro-Scientology hackers" has been put through the wringer as Anonymous posted his home address, phone number, cell numbers, Social Security number, online and made him the subject of obscene and threatening calls.

The poor victim just wants to do something, something actual, to defend himself. But I'm not sure it's going to help against the sort of thing he's up against.

"I don't even really know how to use a computer," Lawson said.

His phone just keeps ringing, Lawson said, and when he answers, callers spout vulgarities and threats and then hang up. On Monday, he got a call that seemed to originate from the Virgin Islands. The caller threatened to kill him.

"They have got the wife really scared because they have my address," Lawson said. "I think I am going to buy me a gun today just in case."


Blogger Mark E. said...

Maybe he should buy a dog.

And here is more about Project Chanology.

1/30/2008 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

I'm glad to see this particular topic get some air time. The Church of Scientology happens to be one of the most contrived and artificial "religions" since Mormonism and Islam itself. The tremendous amount of money being funneled through all three organizations is nothing short of phenomenal.

It tells a lot about a "church" when its founder was a science fiction writer. Take, for instance:

You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.

Response [by Hubbard] to a question from the audience during a meeting of the Eastern Science Fiction Association on (7 November 1948), as quoted in a 1994 affidavit by Sam Moskowitz.

1/30/2008 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

The Internet is probably one of the last places on earth where you must provide for your own defense. More than a few people I know have been hacked or DDoSed. And it just wasn't an option to go down to the local station house and file a complaint with the duty sergeant. You had to rebuild the server yourself. Or hire someone to do it.

I'm fairly certain that the Scientology people are even as we write hiring the best geek power than money can rent to defend against Anonymous and equally probably, to wreak their revenge. I just feel sorry for this poor guy, with his door lock and gun waiting for something that will never come through the frame, caught in the crossfire and having his name dragged all over the Internet. He's trying to defend himself from ghosts. Only these ghosts bite.

1/30/2008 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

Like any other organization, Anonymous' success will depend in large part on a demonstrated capability for learning from its mistakes and then correcting its course.

If they can't recognize the relatively minor mistake described above, correct it, and try to make some amends, then they are probably not up to the larger and more complex task of taking down Scientology.

If they behave like rabid dogs, they'll likely lose their chosen fight, probably be put down themselves, and surely not win many converts in the process.

1/30/2008 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas said...

Although I'm all for pulling the rug out from under Scientology, the links provided by mark e., as well as the comments in the Wired article, are also instructive. Someone who takes it upon himself to declare, quite literally and in all seriousness, "war" against any target (morally good, bad or indifferent) probably has way too much time on his hands. And someone who throws around the word "fag" as an indiscriminate and catch-all insult is a problematic paladin at best.

The most sensible comments on that Wired thread were the ones wondering if school was out.

1/30/2008 10:57:00 PM  

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