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GreenNet CSIR Toolkit Briefings

Electrohippie Collective’s online protest against the Iraq War

Written by Heather Fordfor the
GET, 2002.

March 2003: The Electrohippie Collective, an association of online activists, initiates a campaign with the aim of seeking to "degrade the service" of Tony Blair's http://www.number-10.gov.uk/ and George W. Bush's http://www.whitehouse.gov/ web sites. They believe that these sites are being used to propagate misleading justifications for the war in Iraq.

20 March 2003: The war begins and the collective initiates a "cyber-sit" enabling thousands of people from around the world to protest against the messages being published from the U.S. and British governments' websites by sending them continual requests and causing them to eventually go down.

23rd March 2003: The Downing Street website goes down briefly.

27 March 2003: The Downing Street website goes down a number of times during the day.

1 April 2003: After receiving a number of responses from the public, both from those applauding their initiative, as well as from people objecting to the protest as 'hacking', or as an 'infringement of free speech', the Electrohippie Collective issues a statement entitled 'A response to criticism of 'distributed Denial of Service' (dDoS) protest actions online' (http://www.fraw.org.uk/ehippies/iraq/critique.html) to justify why they think their actions are valid:

1. Design of the action: The action doesn't prevent communication with Bush or Blaire; it is merely to highlight and personalise the role of Bush and Blair in the war by seeking to restrict access to their websites.

2. International law: Bush and Blair, via their web sites, are seeking to sanitise their violation of International human rights law. Action by the Collective is therefore valid in order to highlight their violation of fundamental rights by a method that seeks to restrict their misuse of the right to freedom of expression under the UN Universal Declaration.

3. Freedom of expression: Just about every government regards Internet connections as a matter of contract law, not public law. Therefore you have only the rights guaranteed in the contract, or the 'fair use' conditions, and not your rights guaranteed under the European Convention or the US constitution.

Legality of the action: In some states, the disruption of electronic networks is considered unlawful. The European Union has recently passed a directive that seeks to make such actions unlawful across the whole of the EU. This action, however, is seen by the Collective as the reflection of a unified democratic statement by the tens of thousands of individual Internet users that need to take part if the action is to succeed.

For more information, see http://www.fraw.org.uk/ehippies/iraq.

The GreenNet Internet Rights Project

GreenNet is the UK member of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and is leading the European section of the APC's Civil Society Internet Rights Project. The primary goal of this project is to provide the resources and tools necessary to defend and expand space and opportunities for social campaigning work on the Internet against the emerging threats to civil society's use of the 'Net. This involves developing ways and means of defending threatened material and campaigning, as well as lobbying to ensure a favourable legal situation for free expression on issues of public interest.

Until recently, the social norms of Internet communities, together with a very open architecture based on supporting these norms, regulated the Internet, and was responsible for its openness. The main forces of regulation now, however, are the business sector and government legislation. Corporations and governments are pressing for fundamental changes in legislation and in the architecture of the Internet. Unless challenged, these moves could radically change the nature of the 'Net, making it a place of oppressive controls instead of freedom and openness. It is in this context that APC's Internet Rights project is being developed.

This briefing is one in a series that document different aspects of work and communication across the Internet. Although written from the perspective of the UK, much of its content is applicable to other parts of Europe. There is continuing work on these issues, as part of the European project. If you wish to know more about these briefings, or the European section of the APC Civil Society Internet Rights Project, you should contact GreenNet. You should also check the APC's web site to see if there is already a national APC member in your country who may be able to provide local help, or with whom you may be able to work to develop Internet rights resources for your own country.



Free Documentation License

Copyright © 2001, 2002 GreenNet and Paul Mobbs. Further contributions and editing by Gill Roberts and Karen Banks. The project to develop this series of briefings was managed by GreenNet and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1or any later version (see for a copy of the license).

Please note that the title of the briefing and the 'free documentation license' section are protected as 'invariant sections and should not be modified.

For more information about the Civil Society Internet Rights Project, or if you have questions about the briefings, contact ir@gn.apc.org.

 

The purpose of the 'toolkit briefings' is to explore areas relating to the use of the Internet and Internet rights. The briefings cover a wide range of issues of general and specialist interest. They are available as web pages, but also in Acrobat and other file formats so that they can be printed and supplied as hard copies.

Within the briefings there are a number of conventions regarding links:
  • Links in blue are links to other web pages or web sites.

  • Link in purple are links to the footnotes that accompany the particular briefing you are looking at.

  • Links in green are links to the glossary and cross-referencing index page to the toolkit briefings - following these links will provide you with a short definition of the term being used, and also links to other parts of the whole series of toolkit briefings where the same term is discussed.


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    Electrohippie Collective’s online protest against the Iraq War
    When: 01/01/1970
    Where:
    Who: GET

    March 2003: The Electrohippie Collective, an association of online activists, initiates a campaign with the aim of seeking to "degrade the service" of Tony Blair's http://www.number-10.gov.uk/ and George W. Bush's http://www.whitehouse.gov/ web sites. They believe that these sites are being used to propagate misleading justifications for the war in Iraq.

    Contact:
    Related link:


    What's New with WSIS

    GreenNet CSIR Toolkit Briefings

    Electrohippie Collective’s online protest against the Iraq War

    Written by Heather Fordfor the
    GET, 2002.

    March 2003: The Electrohippie Collective, an association of online activists, initiates a campaign with the aim of seeking to "degrade the service" of Tony Blair's http://www.number-10.gov.uk/ and George W. Bush's http://www.whitehouse.gov/ web sites. They believe that these sites are being used to propagate misleading justifications for the war in Iraq.

    20 March 2003: The war begins and the collective initiates a "cyber-sit" enabling thousands of people from around the world to protest against the messages being published from the U.S. and British governments' websites by sending them continual requests and causing them to eventually go down.

    23rd March 2003: The Downing Street website goes down briefly.

    27 March 2003: The Downing Street website goes down a number of times during the day.

    1 April 2003: After receiving a number of responses from the public, both from those applauding their initiative, as well as from people objecting to the protest as 'hacking', or as an 'infringement of free speech', the Electrohippie Collective issues a statement entitled 'A response to criticism of 'distributed Denial of Service' (dDoS) protest actions online' (http://www.fraw.org.uk/ehippies/iraq/critique.html) to justify why they think their actions are valid:

    1. Design of the action: The action doesn't prevent communication with Bush or Blaire; it is merely to highlight and personalise the role of Bush and Blair in the war by seeking to restrict access to their websites.

    2. International law: Bush and Blair, via their web sites, are seeking to sanitise their violation of International human rights law. Action by the Collective is therefore valid in order to highlight their violation of fundamental rights by a method that seeks to restrict their misuse of the right to freedom of expression under the UN Universal Declaration.

    3. Freedom of expression: Just about every government regards Internet connections as a matter of contract law, not public law. Therefore you have only the rights guaranteed in the contract, or the 'fair use' conditions, and not your rights guaranteed under the European Convention or the US constitution.

    Legality of the action: In some states, the disruption of electronic networks is considered unlawful. The European Union has recently passed a directive that seeks to make such actions unlawful across the whole of the EU. This action, however, is seen by the Collective as the reflection of a unified democratic statement by the tens of thousands of individual Internet users that need to take part if the action is to succeed.

    For more information, see http://www.fraw.org.uk/ehippies/iraq.

    The GreenNet Internet Rights Project

    GreenNet is the UK member of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and is leading the European section of the APC's Civil Society Internet Rights Project. The primary goal of this project is to provide the resources and tools necessary to defend and expand space and opportunities for social campaigning work on the Internet against the emerging threats to civil society's use of the 'Net. This involves developing ways and means of defending threatened material and campaigning, as well as lobbying to ensure a favourable legal situation for free expression on issues of public interest.

    Until recently, the social norms of Internet communities, together with a very open architecture based on supporting these norms, regulated the Internet, and was responsible for its openness. The main forces of regulation now, however, are the business sector and government legislation. Corporations and governments are pressing for fundamental changes in legislation and in the architecture of the Internet. Unless challenged, these moves could radically change the nature of the 'Net, making it a place of oppressive controls instead of freedom and openness. It is in this context that APC's Internet Rights project is being developed.

    This briefing is one in a series that document different aspects of work and communication across the Internet. Although written from the perspective of the UK, much of its content is applicable to other parts of Europe. There is continuing work on these issues, as part of the European project. If you wish to know more about these briefings, or the European section of the APC Civil Society Internet Rights Project, you should contact GreenNet. You should also check the APC's web site to see if there is already a national APC member in your country who may be able to provide local help, or with whom you may be able to work to develop Internet rights resources for your own country.



    Free Documentation License

    Copyright © 2001, 2002 GreenNet and Paul Mobbs. Further contributions and editing by Gill Roberts and Karen Banks. The project to develop this series of briefings was managed by GreenNet and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

    Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1or any later version (see for a copy of the license).

    Please note that the title of the briefing and the 'free documentation license' section are protected as 'invariant sections and should not be modified.

    For more information about the Civil Society Internet Rights Project, or if you have questions about the briefings, contact ir@gn.apc.org.

     

    The purpose of the 'toolkit briefings' is to explore areas relating to the use of the Internet and Internet rights. The briefings cover a wide range of issues of general and specialist interest. They are available as web pages, but also in Acrobat and other file formats so that they can be printed and supplied as hard copies.

    Within the briefings there are a number of conventions regarding links:
  • Links in blue are links to other web pages or web sites.

  • Link in purple are links to the footnotes that accompany the particular briefing you are looking at.

  • Links in green are links to the glossary and cross-referencing index page to the toolkit briefings - following these links will provide you with a short definition of the term being used, and also links to other parts of the whole series of toolkit briefings where the same term is discussed.


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    Electrohippie Collective’s online protest against the Iraq War
    URL:
    Area of interest/expertise: Expression and Defamation,
    Brief description: March 2003: The Electrohippie Collective, an association of online activists, initiates a campaign with the aim of seeking to "degrade the service" of Tony Blair's http://www.number-10.gov.uk/ and George W. Bush's http://www.whitehouse.gov/ web sites. They believe that these sites are being used to propagate misleading justifications for the war in Iraq.
    Contact email:


    A listing here is not intended as an endorsement of any of the views expressed on other organisations’ sites. Descriptions are sourced from the organisations themselves.

    For more links, see here


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