About an hour ago, the Department of Justice decided to shit on their already-souring public image by taking down file-sharing behemoth Megaupload. All other services associated with Megaupload, such as Megavideo, have also been erased from the Internet. Three employees of the website, who live in New Zealand, were served United States arrest warrants and are currently in police custody. Three other employees, none of them United States citizens, are “still at large”. While the details of the arrest can be found at the Department of Justice website, the website is down (undoubtedly due to DDoS attacks from pissed off netizens). After the well-publicized SOPA protests of yesterday, don’t you think that the government should have waited until the anti-censorship chatter died down? Frightening is the fact that Megaupload was hosted in Hong Kong- how did the US government manage to black out a site based in the other side of the planet? Perhaps even more frightening is that the take-down was performed without the help of the SOPA or PIPA bills written specifically for this purpose. It seems that the United States government already has the tools to impose its will upon foreign websites.
The website, which held a traffic rank within the top 100, was one of the most popular file-sharing hubs in the world, even gaining endorsements from scores of (mostly useless) celebrities. Its popularity surpassed even that of ThePirateBay, another massive file sharing hub based outside of the United States. Should we begin preparing our final goodbyes to this safe haven?
Watch this page for updates as we watch the Internet fall into chaos.
- Megavideo.biz appears, likely a fake.
- Activists try to lure unsuspecting Twitter users into opening a LOIC client via a pastehtml link. The LOIC cannons are targeted towards the websites of organizations the activists deem responsible for the shut-down.
- CEO of Megaupload and hip hop producer “Swizz Beatz” is being sued by Universal Music Group for his involvement with the website.
- In response to the take-down, Anonymous makes an effort to further raise awareness about censorship bills SOPA and PIPA via Twitter.
- In protest, Anonymous is currently DDoSing:
-Department of Justice Website
-Universal Music Group
-Motion Picture Association of America
-Recording Industry Association of America
-Hadopi.fr (France’s Internet copyright law)
-BMI (music licensing company)
- Attempts to DDoS Whitehouse.gov are currently in the process. Will they succeed? Shine on, crazy diamonds.
It seems that the dark corners of the Internet have truly fallen into chaos. Some members of Anonymous are claiming that these DDoS will be the largest ever. Only time will tell if this is true, but even if the attacks are hard-hitting, will they do any good for the cause? While avid Internet users understand the problem with Megaupload’s take-down, the retaliation may simply seem like a gross overreaction to the death of a website. On the surface, Megaupload’s demise doesn’t seem to carry the far-reaching implications that it truly contains. The media, especially those behind SOPA, will paint Anonymous and other Internet activists as cyber-terrorists hell-bent on violating the law. If these assertions strike fear into the heart of John Doe Facebook-user, the actions of Anonymous may very well cause people to support measures of Internet censorship. As the relics of the take-down unfold over the next few days, it will become clear as to what the public thinks about censorship. But, even if public opinion strengthens against censorship in light of today’s events, this may very well mark the end of the Free Internet. If corporate interest takes precedent over the values of United States citizens, the online landscape will change dramatically, and we will no longer bear witness to the innovation and idea exchange that has characterized the Internet since its inception. If you want to keep the Internet open, find a means to raise awareness, and possibly protest, in a way that the public will understand.