Dutch Police Arrest 16-Year Old for Pro-WikiLeaks Attack

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A 16-year-old has been arrested in connection with pro-WikiLeaks denial-of-service attacks on Visa and Mastercard. He'll appear in court in Rotterdam on Friday, according to a Dutch media report. Police said they were investigating a much larger group and that more arrests could be on the way.

The group Anonymous has been coordinating denial-of-service attacks through Internet Relay Chat and other online gathering places. As described in an article in The Economist, the group operates by rough consensus, using a simple piece of software to coordinate the technical side of the attacks themselves.

Anonymous has targeted companies that bowed to U.S. pressure to cut off WikiLeaks. When they hit a site like PayPal, Visa, or Mastercard, they temporarily disable the company's websites.

Some like Evgeny Morozov see the use of denial-of-service attacks as a high-tech form of civil disobedience, but others, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have condemned the attacks. WikiLeaks, itself, put out a statement saying they neither "condemn nor applaud these attacks."

Regardless, the infowar has heightened the rhetoric on all sides, much like the disputed arrest of Julian Assange.

Via @Cyberwarzonecom.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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