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"Everyone who logged on, it affected to some extent, whether by causing headaches or seizures"
March 29, 2008 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Possibly the first computer attack to inflict physical harm on the victims:
"I don't fall over and convulse, but it hurts,"... "I was on the phone when it happened, and I couldn't move and couldn't speak."
posted by orthogonality (98 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Usually I think computer hackers get much too high a penalty for computer crimes, like years in prison for breaking into email accounts, but these guys should be charged with assault. It sounds pretty clear that they were intending to injure people.
posted by demiurge at 7:09 PM on March 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


Agreed.
But how to find the baddies, let alone charge them?
posted by Dizzy at 7:10 PM on March 29, 2008


I saw this and was thinking "So yeah, Church of Scientology figures out an effective way to strike back at Anonymous." The ol' Superman-using-his-powers-for-Evil trick. If it is them, it's a pretty smart way to turn Anonymous's strength into a weakness.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:10 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure which is worse:

1) that this happened or 2) that I'm not too surprised about it.

I find it depressing that anyone would find this funny or worthwhile in any way.
posted by knapah at 7:10 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jeez. There's griefing, which is annoying and has no real long-term effects, and then there's setting off epileptic attacks. What the hell?
posted by flatluigi at 7:11 PM on March 29, 2008


Just saying, wheels within wheels within wheels. Take nothing at face value.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:11 PM on March 29, 2008


You know what gives me a headache?

Too many line breaks on the front page.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:17 PM on March 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also.

Circumstantial evidence suggests the attack was the work of members of Anonymous, an informal collective of griefers best known for their recent war on the Church of Scientology.

It's Anonymous, meaning anyone could have done this. I have a hard time believing the same people would have the sense to protest Scientology and then do something stupid and malicious as this.
posted by flatluigi at 7:19 PM on March 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Do you have anything other than derails to contribute tonight, mr_crash_davis?
posted by BeerFilter at 7:20 PM on March 29, 2008


God. This reminds me of something I've wondered about before: What do people with epilepsy do about all those godawful Flash ads that blink like crazy? Do most epileptics know to install ad-blocking software and/or use Firefox + ad-blocking extensions? Has anyone done outreach to make sure epileptics are aware of dangers like this?

This reminds me The Andromeda Strain, where it's revealed that one of the scientists has absence seizures triggered by flashing lights...
posted by limeonaire at 7:22 PM on March 29, 2008


anyone have a link/mirror to the offending Javascript page?
posted by scose at 7:25 PM on March 29, 2008


aaaaaaaaand Snow Crash.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 7:27 PM on March 29, 2008 [14 favorites]


Someone should design a plug-in for Firefox which slows or prevents blinking. Or software which does the same for everything. Or a monitor. Or something. I'm sure there'd be some good money in it.
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:30 PM on March 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


scose: anyone have a link/mirror to the offending Javascript page?

I'd imagine it to be something like this. (obv. epilepsy warning, duh)
posted by flatluigi at 7:32 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Just saying, wheels within wheels within wheels. Take nothing at face value.

...


Do you have anything other than derails to contribute tonight, mr_crash_davis?"


Am I supposed to take that comment at face value, then? Please advise.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:36 PM on March 29, 2008


Remember the innocent days of yore, when the urine box was a mere hoax?
posted by dvdgee at 7:38 PM on March 29, 2008


This made me think of Snow Crash, too, Schlimmbesserung, but also, more immediately, of Stephen King's ridiculous anti-cell phone tome Cell. (Such a terrible novel.)
posted by limeonaire at 7:38 PM on March 29, 2008


Previously

Seriously: this sucks. This is not griefing.

This is tampering with someones brakes in a car 'for a laugh'. This is putting a little peanut in an allergic persons cereal 'for yuks'. This is sabotage and assault and should be treated accordingly.
posted by lalochezia at 7:42 PM on March 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


For the most part, the crap I read about people doing bad things to each other doesn't move me to comment, but this is simply wrong. And I think Citizen Premier's suggestion is a good one.
posted by ghiacursed at 7:44 PM on March 29, 2008


a plug-in for Firefox which slows or prevents blinking

According to the article, there's photosensitive and pattern-sensitive epileptics. So you'd also want a high contrast grid and spiral detector, too. Now if it could block out anything that could cause migraines in anyone, you'd have what left?
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:47 PM on March 29, 2008


This is tampering with someones brakes in a car 'for a laugh'. This is putting a little peanut in an allergic persons cereal 'for yuks'. This is sabotage and assault and should be treated accordingly.

How is that not "griefing"?
posted by delmoi at 7:47 PM on March 29, 2008


In the Great Internet Slapfight of '08 I'm voting against Scientology, but not by much. This is the kind of thing (a tiny part of, but under the guise of) Anonymous and the chan scene as a whole might just do for the lulz.

Though it's impossible to discount the obvious motivation for the CoS to have implicated them.

Next up: Pacemakers!
posted by Skorgu at 7:48 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


A slightly better article on this... I'm not knocking wired, but this article gives a slightly better idea of what was done.
posted by crataegus at 7:48 PM on March 29, 2008


What a bunch of assholes. I've always found hackers to be annoying and juvenile - but this takes the cake. I hope they find out who did this.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:51 PM on March 29, 2008


Anonymous is a de-centralized collective, so the people who did this could be completely different from the Co$ protesters. Or the exact same people. That is the nature of it... no one will ever know. Of course, Anons have a delightfully piranha-like tendency to turn on other Anons who fuck up, so if these script kiddies weren't using seven proxies and get IRL busted by the partyvan for this little escapade, the rest would lol at their failure. And nothing of value would be lost.

I personally don't agree with this particular raid but w/e.
posted by Spacelegoman at 7:54 PM on March 29, 2008


Anonymous isn't even a collective, Spacelegoman. By definition, everyone who uses the internet is "Anonymous" to one extent or another. That's the point.

Just so happened that there was a bit of pseudo-personification of the generic "Anonymous" on places like 4chan, when users would say "Anonymous delivers" or "Anonymous does not forgive." But still, in a very real way, I am Anonymous. And Spartacus, too.
posted by chimaera at 8:02 PM on March 29, 2008


mr_crash_davis writes "Too many line breaks on the front page."

Complain to mathowie. It's caused by the way Metafilter renders blockquote elements.
posted by orthogonality at 8:04 PM on March 29, 2008


"Complain to mathowie."

I thought I had.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:06 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Citizen Premier writes "Someone should design a plug-in for Firefox which slows or prevents blinking."

Hitting the escape key in FF stops animated gifs from playing. Unfortunately, this has to be done on every page.
posted by orthogonality at 8:06 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hitting the escape key in FF stops animated gifs from playing. Unfortunately, this has to be done on every page.

about:config
set image.animation_mode to "once"
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:09 PM on March 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


wth.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:10 PM on March 29, 2008


Someone should design a plug-in for Firefox which slows or prevents blinking.

about:config
set browser.blink_allowed to false
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:13 PM on March 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Remember the innocent days of yore, when the urine box was a mere hoax?

The Urine Box may have been a hoax, but I remember some BBS-era hacker stories about attacks that involved physically going to the target's house, sneaking up to the (usually external) phone interface box and zapping someone's phone line with what amounts to a stun gun or other high voltage discharge device.

This usually fried the modem connected to the target's computer. Modems were expensive back then - a fast one could cost as much as your computer.

Other physical attacks I've heard of have included things like using magnetic devices like bulk tape erasers to wipe or corrupt drives from outside the walls of the house. If your computer (or drive) is near an external wall, and that wall is wood+drywall or even brick or stone, this isn't unfeasible.

Granted, as "hacks" these are inelegant, and not exactly "bodily assault over the internet".
posted by loquacious at 8:14 PM on March 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


What a bunch of dirtbags.
posted by LeeJay at 8:31 PM on March 29, 2008


loquacious there's at least anecdotal evidence that "give us a million dollars or this here HERF gun might just take out your entire accounting department computer system" have already happened.
posted by Skorgu at 8:37 PM on March 29, 2008


Man, takes a special kind of asshole to do shit like this. Motherfuck a chan.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:41 PM on March 29, 2008


I've seen this headline on Techmeme, Wired, and a few other places and I'm still avoiding reading the article, more or less because the thought of this makes me ill. Snowcrash, indeed. This is just every possible direction of wrong.
posted by spiderwire at 8:46 PM on March 29, 2008


This link is not safe for epileptics.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:48 PM on March 29, 2008


Motherfuck a chan.

I'm not convinced this is actually the work of Anonymous. For me, it's easier to believe that someone involved with the Church of Scientology would pull shit like this before Anon, whether Anon would or not.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:50 PM on March 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, yeah, this reminds me of an article from Wired's Defense Room blog recently:
'Telepathic ray guns' that beam voices into the target's skull. Weapons to disrupt balance or cause artificial fevers. Devices to trigger epileptic-type seizures from afar. Those are just a few of the exotic items described in a 1998 Army document, describing the "Bioeffects Of Selected Nonlethal Weapons."
Which of course means they've probably built a couple dozen or so. And shipped them to Taiwan accidentally, in all likelihood.

Incidentally, I think this reinforces my position in the previous thread that we don't need conspiracy to explain what can be accounted for by the boundless incompetence of an insane bureaucracy. I'm gonna go hide now.
posted by spiderwire at 8:55 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


This doesn't sound like a particularly hard-core bit of hacking. Come on, Javascript? Gif animation? And I'll bet the message board of "the nonprofit Epilepsy Foundation" isn't exactly the most highly secured site on the Web.

Does this really sound like the same people that brought down -- and kept down -- the Church of Scientology sites?
posted by PlusDistance at 8:59 PM on March 29, 2008


I'm not convinced this is actually the work of Anonymous. For me, it's easier to believe that someone involved with the Church of Scientology would pull shit like this before Anon, whether Anon would or not.

As mentioned, Anon seems to be just as much script kiddies as activists. I think the most straightforward explanation is to chalk this up to the exact same bizarro-activism that brought us the Ron Paul spam botnet.

Just take it as a given that anything vaguely political flooding Reddit or Digg or whatever is going to get picked up by that crowd and woven into the overall milieu of juvenile idiocy. It's a ancillary byproduct of a certain frequency of internet hype, not part of a targeted effort.
posted by spiderwire at 9:01 PM on March 29, 2008


...and that's why you only allow HTML that's on a whitelist and purge the shit out of any attributes on the tags you do allow.
posted by Artw at 9:02 PM on March 29, 2008


aaaaaaaaand Snow Crash.

Except pizza delivery for the mafia. I mean WTF?

But yeah. This sucks.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:03 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a hard time believing that one could degauss a hard disk through a wall. Magnetic power declines exponetially over distance. Most degaussers I've worked with require the media to be in very close proximity to actually do the erasing work. This sounds like urban legend to me. I'm too lazy to do the math; so someone can post the numbers and prove me wrong; or at least entertain me with a lot of fancy equations and how large a generator you'd need to get an electromagnet strong enough to degauss a computer hard disk at ranges of 4 to 12 inches.
posted by humanfont at 9:07 PM on March 29, 2008


Fuck those assholes. I was angry enough when I had to mop up a forum after some script kiddie dipshit got all happy with the gif overlays and links to flashing goatse pictures. But to intentionally go after people you know are going to be injured by your actions is beyond the pale. I can see some ass from any one of those sources thinking it would be epic lulz to hack an epilepsy forum just to see if they could really induce seizures. I wonder if they're proud of themselves. I hope someone brags to the wrong person and gets caught, because that's probably the only way it's going to happen. What the fuck is wrong with people?
posted by louche mustachio at 9:07 PM on March 29, 2008


Does this really sound like the same people that brought down -- and kept down -- the Church of Scientology sites?

Not to go all Baudrillard on you, but I think that this is just an example of the effect preceding the cause, if that makes sense. It's an arbitrary ideological agenda that's been adopted as a kind of subcultural brand.

It's just a somewhat novel way of expressing an aimless pseudorevolutionary agenda that doesn't involve marching around with megaphones and listening to Rage Against The Machine. (I imagine that's passé.) But it's the same general idea, I think. In any event, not everybody is going to be the Weathermen, right?
posted by spiderwire at 9:09 PM on March 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have a hard time believing that one could degauss a hard disk through a wall.

That's a different Neal Stephenson book... :)
posted by spiderwire at 9:10 PM on March 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


I wonder if this could be related.
posted by IronLizard at 9:13 PM on March 29, 2008


I hate to be this guy here, but battery is the intentional and unwanted touching of another, assault is only making someone fearful of a battery. Sadly, this attack counts as neither, really. What it sure-as-hell qualifies for are reckless endangerment and intentional infliction of emotional distress, plus whatever computer-related crimes might have been committed.

This is awful, and I hope everything possible gets thrown at them. I also doubt it's anon, or at tle very least doubt it's the part of anon fighting the CoS. Random sociopathic attacks against unknown victims for no reason just doesn't fit the profile of people who stage live-action rick-rolling for political purposes. They're two different breeds.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:22 PM on March 29, 2008


7chan responds:

ATTENTION: Newcomers from Wired, Digg, Engadget, Slashdot, etc.
by OverlordXenu - 3/29/08 @ 7:46PM PDT

Hello, and welcome to our website.

I would just like to discuss this nasty business about a terrible raid on a forum for the poor people who suffer from epilepsy. What happened there was terrible, and we feel deeply sorry for those affected.

Users of this site did not actually attack those individuals. The Church of Scientology posted numerous threads across many *chan sites yesterday, and then informed people that Anonymous had been attacking victims of epilepsy. They did this under their "fair game" policy, to ruin the public opinion of Anonymous, to lessen the effect of their lawful protests against their virulent organization.

I must say, it is disgusting that the CoS is willing to drag innocent people down with them, in an attempt to save themselves. How could anyone be a willing participant in their terrible organization?

Sadly, none of our staff were online at the time of the thread's posting, so we were unable to take it down.

We are truly and deeply sorry for what happened to these innocent people,
Thank you for your time spent reading this apology,

The Administration and Staff of 7chan.org

Feel free to email us at the above address or address us on our IRC server, and we will be happy to address any of your concerns regarding this terrible incident.

posted by Rhaomi at 9:36 PM on March 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hey look it's a lonely, orphaned </a>, where'd you come from little guy?
posted by Skorgu at 9:38 PM on March 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


I hate to be this guy here, but battery is the intentional and unwanted touching of another, assault is only making someone fearful of a battery.

Not necessarily the case. An alternate definition of battery is "the intentional infliction of a harmful bodily contact upon another." It can also refer to setting in motion a chain of events that could be reasonably expected to result in physical harm -- that's in Prosser, IIRC. (Two of the examples Prosser gives are poisoning someone's food and digging a hole in the path they take to work.) In this case, the act on the victim's computer would seem to be sufficient to constitute an offensive contact. The eggshell rule applies here, too -- they were specifically targeting epileptics.

IIED isn't necessary or really applicable here -- that's traditionally just a backstop for "emotional distress" that doesn't admit of any clear physical harm but rises to the level of abuse. Here there's a clear physical harm, so battery suffices. Likewise with reckless endangerment -- there you're getting past the level of intentional tort, so there's no reason to go that far, either, except as an alternative.
posted by spiderwire at 9:42 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is as good a place as any: BLIT and comp.basilisk FAQ by David Langford (safe for epileptics).
posted by wobh at 9:48 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


At least we on MetaFilter have the common decency to warn our epileptics beforehand that an FPP may be a seizure danger.

Also: nthing "What a bunch of fucking assholes, whoever they are."
posted by not_on_display at 9:50 PM on March 29, 2008


Also, FWIW, hacking is often regarded as trespassing, and in some courts trespassing can lead to a very broad proximate cause inference — e.g., in Baker v. Shymkiv a trespasser scared a landowner who suffered a heart attack, and the trespasser was held liable for all harm regardless of whether he would be liable if not a trespasser and "no matter how otherwise innocent such conduct may be." (Restatement 2d of Torts §162, comment f.) The effect is essentially to just apply the broad causal inference of harm from Vosburg v. Putney (the "eggshell" rule) where a trespass is concerned. I find the rule a little bit harsh in general, but in context it's just a alternate mechanism for finding intentional harm in exactly this sort of situation. I can't imagine that any court would (or should) hesitate to use it here.
posted by spiderwire at 9:59 PM on March 29, 2008


Hard drives have really powerful (rare earth?) magnets inside them, so I'm not buying you can degauss them through a wall without, you know, pulling the nails and the refrigerator through the wall.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:01 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hard drives have really powerful (rare earth?) magnets inside them, so I'm not buying you can degauss them through a wall without, you know, pulling the nails and the refrigerator through the wall.

If your goal is to disable the hard drive, that might be a decent alternative plan, no?
posted by spiderwire at 10:07 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok, I'm confused, not that that's much of a novelty. Can someone explain to me who this Anonymous is that has been harassing Scientology? Because, as best I can tell, its an aggregate of individuals who take exception to the specific flavor of Scientology's brand of brainwashing, and not any specific identifiable group.

This smells to me as much more likely to be the kind of thing that religionists would do. I mean it's not as extreme as drawing and quartering and then disemboweling the heretic alive before burning them at the stake, but people do tend to frown on those behaviors this millennium.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:07 PM on March 29, 2008


In related (same site) news today: Machines now capable of attacking/jerking off humans.

("The Expo featured ultrarealistic sex dolls, masturbating machines, a bukkake booth, hardcore Blu-Ray porn and a member of the miniskirt police.")
posted by Smedleyman at 10:25 PM on March 29, 2008


("The Expo featured ultrarealistic sex dolls, masturbating machines, a bukkake booth, hardcore Blu-Ray porn and a member of the miniskirt police.")

Smedleyman, how do you know that they aren't just machines who know how to masturbate?


... at least now we know how to defeat SkyNet. Dave? What are you doing, Dave?
posted by spiderwire at 10:29 PM on March 29, 2008


Then there's the possibility that some Anon's did this to make it look like Scientology fair-gamed Anonymous, which the $ci's would have gotten around to doing eventually.

Both sides being largely composed of crafty scumbags that get off on doing horrible things to people, the only thing that makes me root for Anon over Scientology is Elron's scamming of Jack Parsons.
posted by bunnytricks at 10:41 PM on March 29, 2008


From Precipitating Stimuli for Reflex Seizures:

...The classification proposal also includes a list of precipitating stimuli for reflex seizures, discussed in this article. These are:

* Visual stimuli
* Flickering light - color to be specified when possible
* Patterns
* Other visual stimuli
* Thinking
* Praxis
* Reading
* Somatosensory
* Proprioceptive
* Eating
* Music
* Hot water
* Startle


If you really want to be sensitive to the needs of epileptic people on the internet, stop typing now! If you must write something, then at least make sure it doesn't make you think.
posted by CaseyB at 10:49 PM on March 29, 2008


I cannot see this being the work of either scientology or the people that are working against scientology. The anons working against scions are too busy and just not like that and the scions could not do it because Elron did not put it in their programing. They are venal enough but not that clever or given to independent thought.
posted by Iron Rat at 10:55 PM on March 29, 2008


These are not "hackers", stop calling them that. To be a hacker requires skill, this is like "hacking" the bridge by throwing bricks at cars from it.

The Church of Scientology posted numerous threads across many *chan sites yesterday, and then informed people that Anonymous had been attacking victims of epilepsy.

Wow. I believe them, it's totally something Scientologists would do to "fair game" someone, but it seems way above their technical ability and cleverness. Not that it takes a lot of technical ability to write a flashing javascript and post it on a forum, but it takes more than they've displayed in the past. This is the same group that thought they could remove alt.religion.scientology by sending an rmgroup control message and no one would notice. If it is Scientology, and I'm leaning towards it because it totally fits their MO and *chan users may be immature, but they're not sadistic, then OSA has really stepped up its game. I think I'll go see what the a.r.s folks think about it.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:10 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, before anyone points out Operation Snow White or Operation Freakout, which were masterful, that was when Elron was still alive and Mary Sue Hubbard's Guardian's Office was still in power. The GO's successor, the OSA, are epic bumblers. There's even jargon for their bumblings among Scientology critics: "foot bullets".
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:14 PM on March 29, 2008


Well the whole thing is, who's "Anonymous"? I mean, anyone can claim to be anonymous, and they'd be correct.
posted by delmoi at 11:37 PM on March 29, 2008


Well the whole thing is, who's "Anonymous"? I mean, anyone can claim to be anonymous, and they'd be correct.

Yeah, but "Anonymous" in this context refers to a specific group of anti-Scientology protesters. Scientology probably thought the same thing, "we can just blame 'Anonymous' and we won't even technically be lying, and people can make the connection on their own".
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:07 AM on March 30, 2008


yeeaaaaaah... it doesn't make much sense for this to be a concerted chan thing to me either. The lulz aren't epic, the skillz aren't m4d, the target isn't Pwnt-worthy... nobody's going to shake their heads in admiration and say, "whoah, you really don't want to cross those chan-ers, eh?" I mean what's to fap to?
posted by taz at 12:58 AM on March 30, 2008


I mean what's to fap to?

A mother of two unable to turn her head away or even move her arm to click the close button on a window or hit escape? These are /b/tards we're talking about.
posted by crataegus at 1:34 AM on March 30, 2008


I'm not Scientology's biggest fan or anything, but I can't really take this whole Anonymous "movement" too seriously. Based on the releases I've read on sites like Slashdot from claimed adherents, I've found their immature, one-track rhetoric to be grandiose and melodramatic, like something you'd see from a slightly precocious teenager trying on a manner of speaking that's a bit too big for their perspective on the world.

Still hope the fuckers that defaced that epileptics' forum get their dicks stuck in their zippers, though.
posted by anifinder at 1:37 AM on March 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


DecemberBoy: *chan users may be immature, but they're not sadistic
Bullshit, among other examples. The ED post has been edited to remove some of the details, but those non-sadistic chan fuckers went so far as to stalk this person in real life, attempt to get them evicted by phone-harassing their landlord, defaced their workplace home page with information about their personal life in an attempt to get them fired, and hoot and hollar about "It can be raep time pleaz?!". In between ranting hitlerean about her jewosity and how- as a bitch, like all women are bitches- she deserves to be degraded, they found time to make it clear these Junior Psychopath Merit Badge earners would harass her until she "submitted completely". You don't normally see the kind of obsession with a "total domination" of a person and no regard for boundary, law, or ethics outside of predatory serial killers or in the full swing of the third reich.

These are not innocent li'l shavers and harmless pranksters. They'll harass the parents of suicidal teenagers, send realistic threats of rape or death, delight in grotesque images of human suffering and otherwise demonstrate they are a loosely-coupled network of psychopaths. You'll brush it off as "kids being kids", but it's not. It's bootcamp for monsters.
crataegus: A mother of two unable to turn her head away or even move her arm to click the close button on a window or hit escape? These are /b/tards we're talking about.
Exactly- it'd be like asking why Gacy kept killing those teenage boys. I mean, what's to fap to? Except when you're dealing with broken creatures, there's no logic or reason: they just like causing pain.
posted by hincandenza at 2:55 AM on March 30, 2008 [7 favorites]


the scions could not do it because Elron did not put it in their programing.

I don't know about that, they faked bomb threats against the government before to get the author of some expose arrested a couple of decades ago didn't they? If they're prepared to frame someone for terrorism then I think they're probably pretty well programmed to do stuff like this.
posted by emperor.seamus at 4:51 AM on March 30, 2008


This smells to me as much more likely to be the kind of thing that religionists would do.

Please keep your repellent bigotry out of MetaFilter. Thank you.

Oh, and "Those people are bigoted so I get to be bigoted against them!" is not an argument anyone over the age of twelve should want to be seen using in public.
posted by languagehat at 5:24 AM on March 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Would using a Lynx browser be a solution for people with epilepsy? It doesn't seem fair that people can't view images without crap like this going on, and I hope they catch them and prosecute them. But I'm wondering, given the question of what people with epilepsy do, if any of them use Lynx to avoid seeing flashing banners and other potentially seizure-inducing images.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:34 AM on March 30, 2008


Anyone up for an anti-Anonymous counter-protest next time they picket the Scientologists?
posted by acb at 5:49 AM on March 30, 2008


I became aware of "Anonymous" not through their recent attack on Scientology but through their attacking feminist blogs last summer. Their reasoning: a single post on one woman's blog. They didn't like what she said about her son's porn use, so they decided to attack other feminist blogs that happened to be linked from her sidebar. Over a couple of weeks they managed through various techniques to bring down several communities that had nothing to do with the single blogger who had pissed them off, all the while spouting the saddest, juvenile anti-woman schoolyard rhetoric. This is not an activist or political movement or anything like that, just people who like to gang up on a group. The fact that they once ganged up on a group that a lot of us have a problem with hardly makes their other actions defensible.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:01 AM on March 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


A lot of people are suggesting that the epilepsy thing is a CO$ black operation to discredit Anonymous, but what if the plot goes deeper?

What if Anonymous' high-profile involvement in the anti-Scientology cause is itself a Scientology campaign to discredit their critics by association and give the CO$ the moral high ground? If so, its impeccably well timed; the delay between the (high-profile, otherwise innocuous) Anonymous anti-Scientology protests and this would have given enough time for the factoid that "anti-Scientology = Anonymous" to sink in, tarring anti-Scientology campaigners with the brush of a bunch of griefing assholes for a long time to come. This may even undo some of the damage Tom "the Superclam" Cruise's increasingly bizarre behaviour has done to the CO$'s image.
posted by acb at 6:08 AM on March 30, 2008


[a few comments removed - if you're going to link to stuff that has animated suicide gifs, NSFW it or prepare to lose it, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:28 AM on March 30, 2008


hydropsyche: They didn't like what she said about her son's porn use, so they decided to attack other feminist blogs that happened to be linked from her sidebar.

I don't want to defend /b/tard's and their attacks on unrelated targets, but when /b/ went after the woman in question (nsfw) it was the first time they ever used their power for good.
"Any of you ever watch the Rambo movies? Because that's what this is. Sure, we're going in guns blazing, fucking up anyone who gets in our way, but by God this is a rescue mission. We've got a /b/rother behind enemy lines who needs our help! This woman is batshit insane and we can't let her continue fucking with him like this. She wanted to ABORT HER TEENAGE SON because he was viewing pornography. She tells him he's a rapist because he likes girls. She tells him that "his kind" are responsible for everything wrong in the world. She tells him that he is worthless and inferior. This is unacceptable to me as an Anonymous, it is unacceptable to me as a man, and it is unacceptable to me as a decent human being. Do what you have to do - tell the son, tell the ex, tell social services, but we are going to get our man out alive. -- Anonymous about saving their /b/rother.
posted by bunnytricks at 6:44 AM on March 30, 2008


You know what else is bad for epileptics?
Denying access to epilepsy medication because you think your crazy space cult can cure them.
posted by seanyboy at 6:56 AM on March 30, 2008


bunnytricks: I don't know anything about that woman. I just know a bunch of communities where I hang out that had absolutely nothing to do with her except she linked to them were shut down for a long time and fixing the problems was very expensive for the owners of those sites that had absolutely nothing to do with her except she linked to them.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:57 AM on March 30, 2008


I just know a bunch of communities where I hang out that had absolutely nothing to do with her except she linked to them were shut down for a long time and fixing the problems was very expensive for the owners of those sites that had absolutely nothing to do with her except she linked to them.

And that's another reason I find myself to defend them, but that incident is the first I know of where some of the assholes involved realized that they could use their assholosity to do more than destroy communities and drive kids to suicide.
posted by bunnytricks at 7:08 AM on March 30, 2008


myself loathe to defend them, that is.
posted by bunnytricks at 7:09 AM on March 30, 2008


Look, the thing about Anonymous is just that--anyone can be anonymous. In fact, part of the problem of the media's coverage of "Anonymous" with the the Scientology protests is the assumption that Anonymous is any one group or associates on any place on the Internet.

Anyone up for an anti-Anonymous counter-protest next time they picket the Scientologists?

This would not only be a waste of time, but seriously misguided anger. This sort of attack is not what 99 percent of Anonymous stands for. Yes, there are rogue elements, but that's because Anonymous believes in freedom of speech--even ugly speech.

7chan's condemned the attack, Enturbulation has a twelve-page thread condemning the attack (registered members only) and I'm personally disgusted by it, but I doubt that the same people trying to help people who are denied epilepsy medications by Scientology would go and cause seizures for others.
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 7:44 AM on March 30, 2008


see, if this was done on the web site for some graphic design company that does fugly-but-supposedly-trendy web sites, it might be kind of funny. but done on a site for epileptics, that's really not cool. it's beyond dick-like behavior into just plain wrong.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:09 AM on March 30, 2008


TBH from my experience with the internets I would expect any epilepsy forum that allowed IMG to be attacked in this way within a couple of minutes of being set up, and continuously from that point on, so I'm suprised it took so long. Maybe I'm just overly cynical.
posted by Artw at 8:20 AM on March 30, 2008


Sheez. What's next? Rickrolling a brown note?

(Yes, yes, I know that doesn't work...)
posted by bugmuncher at 10:51 AM on March 30, 2008


Talk about losers.
.
posted by notreally at 12:34 PM on March 30, 2008


What if Anonymous' high-profile involvement in the anti-Scientology cause is itself a Scientology campaign to discredit their critics by association and give the CO$ the moral high ground?

It's almost certainly not. Some high-profile and longtime Scientology critics outside of Chanology are also involved in the Anonymous anti-Scientology movement. Unless Scientology duped those people, which is highly unlikely.

You know what else is bad for epileptics?
Denying access to epilepsy medication because you think your crazy space cult can cure them.


I was thinking that too: OSA picked epileptics because they, from a Sceino point of view, have no sympathy for them since they depend on "psych drugs" instead of Hubbard's almighty Standard Tech. I would guess Scientology puts epileptics below 2 on the Tone Scale, and would thus "dispose of them quietly and without sorrow" (Hubbard's words). At the same time, they realize that the "wog world" would have sympathy for them and thus make Anonymous look bad.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:35 PM on March 30, 2008


Also, on the subject of epileptics, I never realized how awful the condition really was until I saw Control (the Ian Curtis biopic). I mean, I knew Ian killed himself because of his epilepsy and his deteriorating marriage, but having the story presented so well visually of how the disease just destroyed someone I idolize was heart-rending. Especially the scenes where he just stares in despair at the heavy medications he was forced to take, or the infamous riot when he physically couldn't make himself go onstage and the guy from Crispy Ambulance had to fill in for him.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:57 PM on March 30, 2008


[comment removed - personal totally off-topic arguments with other users should go to metatalk or email, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:01 PM on March 30, 2008


Just a quick note responding the those questioning degaussing drives through walls:

Yes, drives have magnets inside of them. They're shielded, and precisesly oriented so the flux is vastly weakened where it loops through the platters. Again, the secret to HDD server magnets co-existing with sensitive magnetic-media platters is alignment and shielding. See those big plates on either side of the magnets? Shielding. See how they're perpendicular to the platters? Note how the magnets are precisely charged in a particular direction? Alignment.

So.

HDDs weren't common then. We're talking about floppy discs, mostly. If you even had a HDD in the particular era I'm speaking, it was a RLL/Winchester type drive of 5 or 10 megabytes. At around $500-$1000 dollars.

These were notoriously vulnerable to magnetic flux errors. Heck, if you just looked at them wrong, they'd crash. The next technology, MFM drives, was actually possibly even worse.

5.25" floppy discs were even easier to damage. Especially if you had a full shelf full of them right up against an external wall.

Electromagnets are easy to make. Bulk tape erasers are easy to get. They make even stronger ones than the Radio Shack handheld special. Many are designed (intentionally) to work only in contact with the magnetic media, to prevent accidental erases. These safety measures can be defeated, sheilding plates removed, coils can be overdriven, voltages increased. It only has to work once, really.

And lastly, I grew up in LA, land of ticky-tacky little tinderboxes. We're talking drywall, 2x4s, chickenwire and stucco. If you had a taste for pain and dramatics you could punch a hole all the way through such a wall with your fist.


Now, these days it might be a little more difficult, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

Who wants to try degaussing their drive full of irreplaceable data, first? Screw the math. I don't need math, I just need to wind up this monster coil and find me a couple of car batteries to charge up.

Fine, fine, just put your drive on the test platform on the other side of the official test cinderblock.

*struggles to lift a coil the size of his torso up on the platform. It appears to be finely wound out of coated copper transformer wire, around a stacked, layered core of rare-earth magnet-and-iron plates*

You can back out, if you like. I won't blame you. Also, you might want to step back a few feet, at least. I didn't do the math on this coil. It might explode or yank the piercings out of your nipples or something.
posted by loquacious at 6:08 PM on March 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is funny.

Maybe epileptics shouldn't tell their computer, "hey, I want you to do whatever anyone tells you, even displaying irritating/dangerous animations and obnoxious sounds".

If this doesn't convince people that JavaScript is a terrible idea and make people long for the days of a proper document-based World Wide Web rather than this Web app nonsense, I don't know what will. Yet, what are talking about in this very thread? Easily side-stepped arbitrary toy sandboxes.

At least Java Web Start has a proper security model and properly separates applications from documents.

(Sadly, I do have JavaScript detected. As I type my CPU usage is spiking because it appears the "Live Preview" is O(n) at best with a disgustingly high coefficient, and if I had to guess it's firing an event on every keypress, rather than polling periodically during sustained typing periods.)
posted by vsync at 7:32 PM on March 30, 2008


Complain to mathowie. It's caused by the way Metafilter renders blockquote elements.
And may I complain about how very wrong it is that your comment can ever be true?
posted by vsync at 7:38 PM on March 30, 2008


I browse with animation disabled.

It's not that I've epilipsy, but that the moving graphics found on most news services and professional blogs is highly distracting from actually reading the text, which is 99.9% of my reason for wanting to view the page.

I imagine most savvy people do the same. If you're an epileptic and have animation enabled, I think you're probably about as smart as someone with shellfish allergies going to Red Lobster. It's not an exactly obscure idea, that of turning off the animation when animation annoys you/gives you a fit.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:24 PM on March 30, 2008


Anonymous has multiple personalities. Within Anonymous, there are those who think that the CoS raids were pointless/stupid/a complete waste of time. There are surely many people on /b/ who think that this whole thing is hilarious, just as there are those who would condemn it. "Anonymous" may spontaneously generate actions from its chaos every once in a while, but it has no real plan or drive as a whole... honestly, this was probably the work of 2 or 3 /b/tards with nothing else to do and a greater-than-average sociopathic bent.

Hopefully this isn't the start of a meme though...
posted by mazatec at 9:27 PM on March 30, 2008


They're gonna kill that pooooorrr woomaan.
posted by hellslinger at 10:38 AM on March 31, 2008


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