Hacktivist group Anonymous, known for hacking websites of high-profile organizations, is petitioning the U.S. government to make distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks a legal form of protest as protected by the First Amendment.
Anonymous is filing the petition on the grounds that DDoSing doesn't involve any illegal action, as it "is the equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage." The group believes equates DDoSing to be the digital version of an "occupy" protest, as DDoSing significantly slows or stops the flow of traffic to a site.
"As part of this petition, those who have been jailed for DDoS should be immediately released and have anything regarding a DDoS, that is on their 'records', cleared," it reads.
Thus so far, the petition has garnered a little over 2,000 of the 20,000 signatures that it needs to gain the attention of the Obama administration. The group has until February 6 to get the required number of signatures. Considering the popularity that Anonymous has had on the Internet, garnering over 80,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 800,000 followers on Twitter, the group should have no problem in getting the required amount of digital signatures.
However, considering the poor treatment that occupy protestors have experienced at the hands of law enforcement, and the recent attempts to police the Internet that the U.S. government has made with SOPA and PIPA (among other pieces of legislation), it seems highly unlikely that Anonymous's petition will get fair consideration.
The "We the people" page on the White House web site allows anyone to file an online petition. More successful recent petitions include virtually any topic affecting potential changes to U.S. gun laws and the fiscal debate, and almost 24,000 signatures on a petition that seeks to replace the Imperial system with the Metric system in the U.S.