For nearly a week now, WikiLeaks has been facing the full power and fury of a nation state scorned. It’s servers have been subjected to denial of service attacks, it’s domain revoked, it’s had the means by which the public could offer financial support – Paypal, Visa, Mastercard – withdrawn under political pressure. It’s been the subject of withering attacks in many (though not all) of the editorial pages of the establishment press. It’s public face has been arrested.
And yet for all that it’s not enough to stop WikiLeaks from continuing it’s work.
And now whatever amorphous mass consciousness WikiLeaks sprung from is pushing back – websites for Swiss banks, Visa and Mastercard are currently down and groups like “anonymous” is the culprit. The stakes are high:
This is the old order’s first salvo, an old-fashioned show of power, using old-world intimidation tactics to bring down tangible assets and demonstrate the fragility of the Internet we thought we could trust. Make no mistake, if they win here, online life will change. Expect tighter government control, more regulations and sanitised information flow.
But I wouldn’t bet against the “[a]ngry, porn-obsessed adolescents” – and I don’t think that’s an accurate description of the demographic or the motivation. But for the sake of argument let’s assume this purposely dismissive and common characterization is true. In a few brief years they won’t be adolescents anymore, they’ll be blooded veterans of the WikiLeaks War. And let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to be an insurgent from the comfort of your parent’s basement*
No one’s in control at the moment. But someone has blinked.
*As opposed to taking to the streets of Tehran and facing down the Basij. Which the angry, porn-obsessed adolescents did anyway.