Online protest: towards a Magna Carta for the Internet

CIPPM’s Argyro Karanasiou presented her paper Towards a Magna Carta : A right to online protests? at the 10th International conference on Internet, Law and Politics 2014. The paper discusses the free speech argument for treating DDoS attacks online as the digital counterpart of an online sit in.

The paper examines the changing face of protesting in the digital era with a particular focus on DDoS attacks. While it is generally recognized that new technologies and the Internet have played a seminal part in mobilizing the masses, the issue of online protesting is highly overlooked in the literature. The paper highlights the Internet’s contribution to the organization of major protesting movements, such as the Spanish Indignados but takes a further look on it serving as an environment for online protesting. An initial taxonomy of potential online demonstrations is followed by a legal assessment of DDoS as protesting acts. The latter has been an at-tractive argument claimed many times by the Anonymous hacking collective, most notably on January 2013 in a White House petition suggesting that DDoS  attacks ought to be recognized as a valid form of protest, similar to the Occupy movements. This paper examines the analogies between offline protests and DDoS attacks, discusses legal responses in both cases and seeks to explore the scope for free speech protection .

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