The Wikileaks epic just got more interesting

So far Wikileaks actions look more embarrassing than endangering to me. Wikileaks gained credibility with lots of most likely real leaks - it's probably becoming attractive for seeding disinformation with false leaks. Even the publishing of real leaks can produce advantages for the embarrassed party, such as "See, we do in secret mostly what we told you in public!"-type of messages.

Now it's getting really interesting, though:

By Rob Pegoraro

The credit-card firm's [MasterCard] Web presence has been largely unreachable for the past few hours after a coordinated attack intended to punish it for refusing to process donations to WikiLeaks.

Reports such as TechCrunch's post indicate the "denial of service" operation was coordinated through 4chan, a free-form message-board site that's been used to arrange numerous other sorts of Web mischief and sabotage, as well as a separate effort called Operation: Payback.

This sounds to me like it's turning into a cultural war - establishment vs. sub-40ish pop culture. The parallel to conflicts between government and extra-parliamentarian opposition in countries such as Iran is interesting.

This is also interesting (and adds to the embarrassment of the leaks!):

Journalism professor and media critic Jeff Jarvis grumbled that he could use Visa and MasterCard to contribute to the Ku Klux Klan -- but not to WikiLeaks.

In any case: Don't mess with crowds which can self-organize - unless you're ready to endure the pain. There's going to be a huge backlash for the anti-Wikileaks/anti-Assange actions. They probably knew that this could happen and delayed the concerted efforts against Wikileaks' hosting and banking providers for exactly this reason.

Sven Ortmann


  1. John, what does it mean? Attacking a credit card company does not infringe upon the freedom of speech. If these guys tried to take down a newspaper, etc, you would have a point. This is a simple retaliation: you hurt us, we will hurt you. Simple and not morally complicated. Hoepfully this is just the beginning... imagine how much traffic can be generated for DOS attack if all people unhappy with these companies decisions installed and activated the appropriate tools... these corporate fools could be down premanently.

  2. Scoremore
    Taking down Mastercard just pisses off people who have mastercards, and allows the "man" to switch the arguement from censoring freedom fighters to cracking down on terrorists.

  3. I have 2 Mastercards and was not at all pissed off about the attacks. They've lost their 1.5% earnings from me for a while.

    And when the leaks concerning the banks are out in the open...then I think we'll see people really get pissed off(about the banks).