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An ethical question

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  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    On Slashdot, some of you may be familar with the "Spam-stopper checklist", that has the ability to shoot down every anti-spam solution ever devised.

    Well, a while back, (too far back for me to remember the URL, sorry), a few people said something about possible vigilante justice against the spammers over the internet (i.e: DDoS attacks)

    Then others retorted, saying that DDoS attacks would be illegal.

    Then one person posted a +5 Insightful, mentioning that the internet doesn't have any laws, so nothing is illegal on the internet and that vigilante justice could, potentially, be justified.

    So here's a question:

    What are the ethical implications of developing a viral bot program that just takes advantage of a botnet's ability to DDoS websites within minutes.

    We've all heard about the success of those "DDoS Screensavers" and the like, that managed to shut down phishing websites.

    Considering that people lose money from phishing scams, children get hurt from paedophiliac websites, and the like.

    What the Internet needs, is some kind of rapid-reaction "take-down" force. Right now the current "administrative" process can take weeks to take effect.

    I'm proposing an "ethical" botnet, headed by vetted and trusted individuals, who can act decisivly in taking down an offending website.

    The system may even work if it's opt-in, I'm sure there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people who'd like to play a part in shutting down phishing sites and the like.

    The only problem is that "The Internet Police" might get sued, just like Lycos did. So if the organisation did exist, it wouldn't be able to make available "actual" contact details.

    But hey... I'm open to comments on this one.

  • User profile image
    Heywood_J

    Sorry.  Doesn't work
    .

    W3bbo wrote:
    I'm proposing an "ethical" botnet, headed by vetted and trusted individuals,

    50 million people vote for a president, who then continually does things that are not in the people's best interest

    end of story.

     

  • User profile image
    JChung2006

    Who watches the watchmen?

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    Lycos didn't get sued. But strangely a lot of backbone providers were suddenly able to disconnect Lycos very quickly from their network.
    Another possibility is to disconnect Russia, China and South-America from the internet.
    At the moment there is an alternative for the Lycos screensaver. The company is called http://www.bluesecurity.com. It requires you to install a small application that sits in your tray and fills in 'do not spam' messages on the order form of the spam page. The sourcecode of that application is also freely available and you can give feedback on it.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Heywood_J wrote:
    Sorry.  Doesn't work


    Would you like to elaborate on that?

    Heywood_J wrote:

    W3bbo wrote:I'm proposing an "ethical" botnet, headed by vetted and trusted individuals,

    50 million people vote for a president, who then continually does things that are not in the people's best interest

    end of story


    Uhm, what does George Bush have to do with a botnet?


    JChung2006 wrote:
    Who watches the watchmen?


    I propose a "lottocratic" system. Each "watchman" would only have a few days, chosen at random. And even then, for any action to take place, the system would require that everyone agrees to target a specific site. So an individual person couldn't do anything without everyone else authorising it.


  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    W3bbo wrote:
    I propose a "lottocratic" system. Each "watchman" would only have a few days, chosen at random. And even then, for any action to take place, the system would require that everyone agrees to target a specific site. So an individual person couldn't do anything without everyone else authorising it.

    That usually ends up with nothing being done, period.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    ZippyV wrote:
    Lycos didn't get sued. But strangely a lot of backbone providers were suddenly able to disconnect Lycos very quickly from their network.
    Another possibility is to disconnect Russia, China and South-America from the internet.


    A botnet wouldn't suffer from being disconnected, especilly if the "central control IRC channel" was mirrored on multiple IRC networks.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Sven Groot wrote:
    W3bbo wrote:I propose a "lottocratic" system. Each "watchman" would only have a few days, chosen at random. And even then, for any action to take place, the system would require that everyone agrees to target a specific site. So an individual person couldn't do anything without everyone else authorising it.

    That usually ends up with nothing being done, period.


    ...but the people currently on rota to decide what to nuke and what not to nuke chose to be there, because they want to do something about said problems.

    Provided total anonymity is achieved, get 5 people who all want to take down phishing sites. Someone submits "http://434.324.32.23/ThisIsReallyPayPalHonest/GenericPhish.php", then I can't see why people would want to refuse to take it down.

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    Why don't you just use the existing botnets? [6]

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    W3bbo wrote:

    Then one person posted a +5 Insightful, mentioning that the internet doesn't have any laws, so nothing is illegal on the internet and that vigilante justice could, potentially, be justified.


    Unless your servers are hosted extra-terrestrially, it most certainly does.

    And so-called vigilante style "justice" on the internet is subject to all the flaws of vigilante "justice" in the real world.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    ZippyV wrote:
    Why don't you just use the existing botnets?


    a) Using them would be illegal (in both the country they're located in and my own country) since the people are using them either unwillingly or unwittingly
    b) They cost a bomb, it costs about $0.50 for each node per day
    c) There's no satisfaction from doing it yourself Wink

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    AndyC wrote:
    Unless your servers are hosted extra-terrestrially, it most certainly does.


    How about in Sealand then? Wink

    AndyC wrote:
    And so-called vigilante style "justice" on the internet is subject to all the flaws of vigilante "justice" in the real world.


    Such as?

    The stereotypical "vigilante" of the late 50's Deep-South usually wasn't the most educated nor ethical person around, and often they formed lynching mobs.

    Vigilante groups are formed by people who feel the current system either isn't doing its job or there isn't a system in place.

    ...do you have a better suggestion for the quick take-down of websites then?

  • User profile image
    eagle

    British football hooligans are your role models?

  • User profile image
    Rossj

    Eagle just stop.  No-one here has tried to justify the actions of hooligans.  The KKK were formed in the USA but we don't generalise because of that.  There are bad people the world over - stop trying to imply we're all hooligans. Please.

  • User profile image
    Cider

    eagle wrote:
    British football hooligans are your role models?


    Nah, what's he suggesting is more like the Real IRA, y'know that terrorist organisation that's funded by stupid east-coast Americans who think they are Irish and think "gee whiz, I've got an Irish surname and must hate the English irrationally because I'm like totally Irish, even though I have nothing to do with the situation over there".

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Cider wrote:
    eagle wrote:British football hooligans are your role models?


    Nah, what's he suggesting is more like the Real IRA, y'know that terrorist organisation that's funded by stupid east-coast Americans who think they are Irish and think "gee whiz, I've got an Irish surname and must hate the English irrationally because I'm like totally Irish, even though I have nothing to do with the situation over there".


    The Real IRA targeting civilians. My proposed "Internet Vigilante Police" would only target those targeting civilians.

    A better comparison would be "Volunteer Ulster Constabulary" Smiley

  • User profile image
    Cider

    W3bbo wrote:
    So here's a question:

    What are the ethical implications of developing a viral bot program that just takes advantage of a botnet's ability to DDoS websites within minutes.

    We've all heard about the success of those "DDoS Screensavers" and the like, that managed to shut down phishing websites.

    Considering that people lose money from phishing scams, children get hurt from paedophiliac websites, and the like.


    The problem with your idea is demonstrated quite clearly in that last sentence quoted.

    You start talking about phishing websites, but already have added in paedophile websites.  Its an obvious creep that is seen in every type of vigilante.  It would end up in some very unethical decisions being made.

    I think this is intensified in computing terms, as the ethics of the computing world are sometimes eyebrow raising.  After all, you did read that on Slashdot and it is a popular website.  Would anyone like slashdotters policing the web in any way?

  • User profile image
    eagle

    The KKK was formed by Anglos and Scotts as an anti-Catholic fraternal order along the lines of the Orange Order in the occupied six counties of Eire.



    The real ira is comprised of MI5 assets, men who were recruited or conscripted by British Security Forces to fight a dirty war.

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