Protests Spread in Italy with the Support of Anonymous’ #OpItaly

“We must resist, not as a last act of desperation, but as a first act of creation. We will raise public awareness with DDoS attacks, like we have successfully done in the past. Comparable to a sit-in, DDoS protesters disrupt business or government actions by obstructing the flow of normal traffic, in order to make a political point. Anonymous will fight against censorship and oppression. The truth is too important. I want people to see the truth because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

-statement from participants in #OpItaly

People across Italy have been demonstrating for a variety of reasons recently, including a new bill that allows unprecedented censorship of the internet in Italy, as well as the infamous Berlusconi’s latest sex scandal. Wikileaks has recently released a cable which discusses the Internet Bill before the Italian Parliament:

“The GOI appears open to discussion of the bill’s text. While
reaction to the bill has been strong among opposition
politicians and telecom professionals, the issue has not made
it to the front pages of newspapers so there has been no
strong public reation. Despite GOI protestations, the bill
is troubling as it appears to have been written to give the
government enough leeway to block or censor any Internet

The cable goes on to say:

“Provisions contained in the bill would make Internet
service providers (ISPs), and hosting sites such as Blogspot
and YouTube, liable for content in the same way a television
station is. In the strictest interpretation of the law, the
sites and ISPs would have to monitor all content on their
sites, content which is uploaded by millions of individual
users. This is widely viewed as impossible both in practical
and economic terms. The Italian Communications Authority
(AGCOM) would be responsible for oversight of the law, and
some have interpreted the bill as requiring government
permission before a video could be uploaded”

The cable ends with this telling statement: “In
light of its reluctance to take action on this issue in the
past, and also given the many commercial advantages that this
law appears to give Mediaset and state TV, the GOI (Government of Italy) claim that
Internet provisions of this law are aimed at copyright
protection alone are suspect.”

Anyone interested can read the full text of the cable here

In summary, the Internet Bill gives the Italian government the ability to censor the internet, something they’ve been trying to do for quite a while. In support of the Italian protests Anonymous has launched a new operation, #OpItaly or Operation Italy which is now engaged in Distrubted Denial of Service (DDOS) protest against the Italian Government website. A statement from participants of #OpItaly lists reasons for the action:

“We will block access to for the following reasons:

-Public information and censorship: the information is completely manipulated by our Prime Minister who controls all TV channels (like Mediaset) and all the newspapers that now only have a political purpose. In addition, many sites like YouTube are being pressured by the government for the removal of “uncomfortable” material.

-Politics: The present government is ravaging Italy, is not interested in the country but is composed of representatives whose only interest is themselves.

-The economy: is in recession, unemployment is rampant, especially among young people;

-Education: education funds were cut in favor of private schools (you mean corporate – private would be home tutoring), also the quality of education is decreasing (that’s every where);

– Culture: the funds necessary to preserve the artistic heritage of Italy were cut ;

– Immigration: There are no rules that govern the migration properly.

– Waste management: whole cities are overwhelmed by junk (like Naples).

– Public transport: by cutting budgets, the people who use public transportation every morning – bus, tramway, and subway – face ridiculous scenarios: no lights in the subway, always malfunctioning bus, and tram doors that are jammed shut or stay open while under way, despite security risks.”

Further evidence of the international effect (and affect) of Anonymous:

To speak better to the situation in Italy I interviewed two Italian members of Anonymous, both with very positive opinions of the movement. The first anon saying: “anyway this anonymous group is great, they help Tunisians and Egyptians, and there a lot of riots that will need our attention. The people of the world are gaining a deep consciousness about politics, economics and environmental issues. Anonymous is just a way to speak for the critical mass.”

I asked the other anon I interviewed how he found out about anonymous and also about the Italian impression of anonymous. His answers:

“Anon: I had heard talk on the news even though they gave wrong information about Anonymous. Searching online, I arrived at the official site of Anonymous where I learned what Anonymous was. I think in Italy they are not well known as a movement but I think that today’s attack had a lot of publicity.” (speaking of that publicity)

When he asked his opinion on the role of a free internet in movements for social change, he answered: “the internet can put millions of people in contact at a great distance giving them the opportunity to exchange ideas, information and more. Protesting via the internet, this protest can expand beyond national borders for hours. The internet is the only form of free information that exists.”

It’s important to see what’s going on here and recognize it. What’s going on now is issue-driven, but it’s not a single issue. When asked why the Italians are demonstrating, the second anon responded “primarily” due to government censorship of the internet. The first anon when asked listed many reasons for “manifestations” in Italy, “the crazy laws of a crazy premier”, the installation of a nuclear power plant, construction of a new US military base in Vincenza, against pollution and more. He went on to say these are all “little manifestations”. If those are little, the big manifestation is happening too. One that transcends borders and single issues, one that uses a variety of tactics, one that brings people together. As an anon said: “A lot of people that are now DDOS’ing the Italian government were in channel #opegypt (center anonymous’ operation Egypt).” If there is a single issue that unites these people it is the free internet, and the fight to keep it free. It seems only with truly honest and free communication is it possible to change anything, to even figure what needs to change and what needs to stay, and to figure out the best way to go about it. It is becoming obvious the internet is playing a large part in not only free speech, but the free exchange of ideas. It starts with an honest conversation and a realization that what is, is not what has to be. With that, it goes wherever we need it to go.

~ by Vanzetti on February 7, 2011.

One Response to “Protests Spread in Italy with the Support of Anonymous’ #OpItaly”

  1. […] Protests Spread in Italy with the Support of Anonymous’ #OpItaly « Vanzetti’s“We must resist, not as a last act of desperation, but as a first act of creation. We will raise public awareness with DDoS attacks, like we have successfully done in the past. Comparable to a sit-in, DDoS protesters disrupt business or government actions by obstructing the flow of normal traffic, i Original Source […]

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