Friday, December 10, 2010

Exclusive: “Anonymous” speaks out about WikiLeaks payback

A group who refers to itself as Anonymous has as taken credit for a recent string of high-profile cyber attacks against the websites of businesses, banks and politicians that have either spoken out against or stopped doing business with WikiLeaks.

Cyber attacks, dubbed Operation Payback, targets those who have caved into US government pressure to shun the whistleblower website that recently released thousands of classified US diplomatic cables.

The activist hackers have attacked, PostFinace, Visa,, and others.

For the first time, in an exclusive interview with RT’s Alyona Minkovski, an unidentified representative of the group explained they will always have technology on their side and be one step ahead to continue to fight challenges to free speech.

The goals are to show these companies that people are willing to fight for the vindication of WikiLeaks.

“We have been DDoS’ing sites,” he explained. “We have been flooding them with traffic so other people cannot use them and they have been taken down like this and they cannot operate like this anymore. We’ve been attacking them, we’ve been DDoS’ing them so people can’t buy things, people can’t make transactions.”

He explained the relation is to send a message to these companies and individuals who are taking money from WikiLeaks and refusing service, specifically citing

“Anyone can do it. Anyone has a voice that can stand up and do it,” the representative said. “They can just load up a browser, type in the details; they can volunteer for this, and have a voice of their own.”

However, to do so would be illegal in most countries. But, he pointed out the chances of getting caught are practically zero. His organization coordinates attacks, but the attacks themselves are carried out by a team of massive volunteers globally who are well aware of the risk.

Since the attacks began, “Anonymous’” Facebook and Twitter accounts have been suspended, but the representative explained that action has had little impact on their efforts.

The attacks and actions by the group are a protest, a revolution, he explained.

Although the media had reported the group planned coordinated attacks on, the groups representative said they do not have any malicious plans to take on Amazon nor had they attempted to. He also said the group was not responsible for any coordinated attacks or hacks on Sarah Palin, although she claims to have been a target.

“We don’t really care about Sarah Palin that much, to be honest. I don’t really know what she’s trying to accomplish or what attention she is trying to gain. We personally don’t care about Sarah Palin,” he added.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Congress Considers Change to 'Red Flags Rule

The American Bar Association has been battling for more than a year to exempt lawyers from new regulations designed to fight identity theft. Now, Congress has decided to step in.

With no fanfare and no recorded vote late Tuesday, the Senate approved legislation that could accomplish what the ABA was hoping to achieve. The bill would narrow the definition of “creditor” under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transition Act of 2003, likely ensuring that lawyers would not meet the new definition.

An ABA spokeswoman said the group is optimistic about House passage, possibly this week.

The regulations over identity theft were written by the Federal Trade Commission, and they’re popularly known as the “Red Flags Rule.” FTC regulators have interpreted the term “creditor” to include those who perform services and get paid at a later date, as many lawyers do. Other professional groups, including accountants and physicians, have protested their inclusion, too.

The bill, S. 3987, would define a creditor largely as someone who uses credit reports, furnishes information to credit reporting agencies or “advances funds…based on an obligation of the person to repay the funds or repayable from specific property pledges by or on behalf of the person.”

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the bill Tuesday with Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) as a co-sponsor. In a prepared statement, they said the FTC was threatening small businesses.

“Small businesses in South Dakota and across our country are the engines of job growth for America,” Thune said. “Forcing them to comply with misdirected and costly federal regulations included in the FTC Red Flags Rule will hurt their ability to create jobs and continue growing our economy.”

ABA President Stephen Zack said in a prepared statement: “Last night’s Senate vote to clarify the rule so that lawyers are clearly not included was a critical step in ending a bureaucratic effort to solve a non-existent problem with paper-pushing regulations that would have increased legal costs.”

The fight over the Red Flags Rule has also played out in court after the ABA sued the FTC. In October 2009, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton of the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the ABA. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard the FTC’s appeal last month.