FBI joins campaign against Anonymous

The FBI said it executed more than 40 search warrants throughout the United States this week, "as part of an ongoing investigation into recent coordinated cyber attacks against major companies and organizations".

The searches were coordinated with swoops conducted by the UK's Metropolitan Police Service which nabbed five young men thought to have links with online mischief makers Anonymous.

Meanwhile, in Egypt the US continues its duplicitous role of supporting the Mubarak regime while bemoaning the state's blocking of the Internet and suggesting reform instead of 'regime change'.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told journalists earlier this week that the use of social media was a "fundamental right as clear as walking into a town square".

Back home, the FBI was reminding the public that "facilitating or conducting a DDoS attack is illegal, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as well as exposing participants to significant civil liability."

The spooks named Anonymous as the perpetrator of DDoS attacks on such venerable institutions as VISA, PayPal, and Mastercard, which had decided to cut off funding through donations to WikiLeaks, under pressure from U.S authorities, without any evidence of wrong-doing. Indeed, despite an investigation which could find no hint of any illegal activity, VISA has so far declined to lift its ban on doing business wiith the whistle-blowing website.

What is clear from all this is that people are beginning to decide which actions they will tolerate being carried out ostensibly on their behalf and, where they disagree, they'll find a way of venting their disapproval online.

The line as to what is legal and what illegal is blurred online because the Internet transcends national barriers. And, where laws are unjust, people have no moral compunction to obey them, not matter what lawmakers' arguments are. The right to object is a far more fundamental human right.

The Egyptian authorities may decide that using the Internet is a crime - or rather they may just block it. The US authorities may decide that exposing the truth is a crime. The British authorities may decide that organising online protests is a crime.

In the end the people will decide and follow their conscience. Which is just as it should be.

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