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Posted 7 Jan 1999 00:00:00 UTC

International Coalition of Hackers Denounce Declaration of War

Date: 7.1.1999

An international coalition of hackers strongly condemns the Legion of the Underground's (LoU) recent "declaration of war" against the governments of Iraq and the People's Republic of China. Citing human rights violations and other repressive measures the LoU declared their intention to disrupt and disable Internet infrastructures in Iraq and China. In a decision that was more rash than wise, the LoU will do little to alter existing conditions and much to endanger the rights of hackers around the world.

We - the undersigned - strongly oppose any attempt to use the power of hacking to threaten or destroy the information infrastructure of a country, for any reason. Declaring "war" against a country is the most irresponsible thing a hacker group could do. This has nothing to do with hacktivism or hacker ethics and is nothing a hacker could be proud of.

Frank Rieger of the CCC said, "Many hacker groups don't have a problem with Web hacks that raise public awareness about human rights violations. But we are very sensitive to people damaging networks and critical systems in repressive regimes or anywhere else. The police and intelligence communities regard hacking as seditious. It is quite possible now that hackers - not only in totalitarian states - could be jailed or executed as 'cyberterrorists' for the slightest infraction of the law."

"It is shortsighted and potentially counterproductive," added Reid Fleming of the cDc. "One cannot legitimately hope to improve a nation's free access to information by working to disable its data networks."

"Though we may agree with LoU that the atrocities in China and Iraq have got to stop, we do not agree with the methods they are advocating," said Space Rogue of the L0pht.

Emmanuel Goldstein of 2600 said: "This kind of threat, even if made idly, can only serve to further alienate hackers from mainstream society and help to spread the misperceptions we're constantly battling. And what happens when someone in another country decides that the United States needs to be punished for its human rights record? This is one door that will be very hard to close if we allow it to be opened."

Governments worldwide are seeking to establish cyberspace as a new battleground for their artificial conflicts. The LoU has inadvertently legitimized this alarmist propaganda. With its dramatic announcement the LoU played into the hands of policy makers who want complete control over the Internet and are looking for reasons to seize it. If hackers solicit recognition as paramilitary factions then hacking in general will be seen as an act of war. Ergo, hackers will be viewed as legitimate targets of warring states.

Strategic combat planning in the United States and among other nations has reached the point where real-world cases are needed to justify assigned budgets. The LoU is providing this real-world case now. We believe that the LoU should carefully investigate the idea of declaring "war" against China and Iraq. Was it planted with them by someone with different interests in mind other than advancing human rights considerations?

The signatories to this statement are asking hackers to reject all actions that seek to damage the information infrastructure of any country. DO NOT support any acts of "Cyberwar." Keep the networks of communication alive. They are the nervous system for human progress.

Signed (7.1.1999):

2600 (http://www.2600.com)
Chaos Computer Club (http://www.ccc.de)
Cult of the Dead Cow (http://www.cultdeadcow.com)
!Hispahack (http://hispahack.ccc.de)
L0pht (http://www.l0pht.com)
Phrack (http://www.phrack.com)
Pulhas (http://p.ulh.as/)
several members of the Dutch Hackers Community (contact Rop Gonggrijp, rop@xs4all.nl)
Toxyn (http://www.toxyn.org/)

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