Protesters have been targeting government and corporate websites for years. But when online activists strike at Republican domains during the G.O.P.'s convention later this month, the digital demonstrations might turn out to be more than symbolic, for once.In the past, activists have been able to shut down the website of, say, the World Economic Forum for a few hours. But the impact of such a takedown was nebulous at best: It's hard to argue the organization really suffered from a few-hour lag in posting its press releases online.In this year's presidential race, however, campaign websites have moved beyond the margins. During John Kerry's acceptance speech in Boston last month, for example, his website was visited by 50,000 people an hour, according to ComScore Networks, the online traffic-measuring firm. That's a droplet compared to the millions who'll watch the convention on TV. But taking down a campaign website would nevertheless remove a critical tool for reaching the public -- and likely generate a slew of stories in the mainstream media about the crash.So it's no surprise that hardened electronic activists are planning to jam up the servers of georgewbush.com, rnc.org, and related websites, once the Republican National Convention gets underway on August 29."We want to bombard (the Republican sites) with so much traffic that nobody can get in," said CrimethInc, a member of the so-called Black Hat Hackers Bloc.My Wired News article has details.THERE'S MORE: Salon's Michelle Goldberg has a super story today on how radical protesters' tactics could backfire -- and cost John Kerry the election.AND MORE: Steve Gilliard says Michelle is full of it.
Goldberg is worried about a bunch of halfwits who the cops have loudly announced that they are watching.The problem with the Chicago analogy is multiple, but let's start with the police riot and end with the disorder in the hall. The anarchists are kids who will quickly learn that if the NYPD can handle St. Patrick's Day and the Puerto Rican Day parade where everyone over the age of 16 is drunk, their little street theater will pose no challenge.But I think she needs to harp on the anarcho-kiddies. Get the GOP nice and frightened of them, worried about their antics.Why?Because the real protests, the ones that get people, including cops and firemen into the streets will be far different affairs. I don't get why she is so obsessed with some loud talking white boys from Williamsburg, who have neither influence nor support, while ignoring the far more serious protests on tap. If I was Rove, I would worry about the big union protests, not the anarcho-antics.AND MORE: In my article today, I make reference to a recent hacker conference session promising to teach folks how "to infiltrate organizations like the RNC." Defense Tech reader CL says that was wrong. "The HOPE conference that you referred to in your article does not endorse morons such as these 'Black Hat Hackers.' It is, in fact, people like them who give hackers a bad name. It's offensive that you refer to that gathering in such a detrimental way only to perpetuate the hysteria that comes with the word 'hacker.'"