When Donald Trump is inaugurated as the U.S. President on Friday, Juan Soberanis intends to protest the event — digitally.
His San Francisco-based protest platform is calling on Americans to oppose Trump’s presidency by visiting the Whitehouse.gov site and overloading it with too much traffic. In effect, he’s proposing a distributed denial-of-service attack, an illegal act under federal law. But Soberanis doesn’t see it that way.
“It’s the equivalent of someone marching on Washington, D.C,” he said on Monday. “Civil disobedience has been part of the American democratic process.”
Soberanis’s call to action is raising eyebrows and highlights the isssue of whether DDoS attacks should be made a legitimate form of protest. Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, sending a command to a protected computer with the intent to cause damage can be judged a criminal offense. But that hasn’t stopped hacktivists and cyber criminals from using DDoS attacks to force websites offline.
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