Author: has written 5284 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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130 Responses

  1. Jaclyn
    Jaclyn August 9, 2007 at 10:35 pm |

    I say we take Kathy Sierra’s lead and treat them as the serious threats they are, and report them to the authorities.

    I’m so, so sorry you’re getting shit like that, Jill. Do you or any of the other targeted bloggers need physical protection? I’m in Boston, or I’d offer myself (unless any of the bloggers are up here?), as I’m well trained, but I bet some of us more local to you and the other bloggers would offer our services.

    It’s right to speak out about this, if you feel able to. This shit thrives on silence and fear. You did the right and brave thing posting about it, and I for one will back you up however you need.

  2. An Onny Mouse
    An Onny Mouse August 9, 2007 at 10:39 pm |

    I say we take Kathy Sierra’s lead and treat them as the serious threats they are, and report them to the authorities.

    Yes yes yes yes yes. There are people who are so much better equipped to deal with this than we are.

    IF they blow it off, as I unfortunately suspect they will, then we’ll figure out something else, but this is a legal matter.

  3. Vanessa
    Vanessa August 9, 2007 at 10:56 pm |

    Agreed with the reporting to authorities, in addition to tracking down IP addresses if possible.

  4. Marnanel
    Marnanel August 9, 2007 at 10:58 pm |

    Agreed.

  5. Wally Whateley
    Wally Whateley August 9, 2007 at 11:05 pm |

    Who are the authorities this stuff should be reported to? I really don’t know who should be contacted and how…

    I’ve heard some of the hackers claim that DoS attacks are even legal. It doesn’t pass the sniff test with me, but I can’t find anything that says for sure. Wikipedia is entirely unhelpful. :/

  6. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus August 9, 2007 at 11:07 pm |

    Well, maybe something like getting together some volunteers who will track down precisely that kind of information and perform some kind of monitoring function would be helpful.

  7. Michelle
    Michelle August 9, 2007 at 11:09 pm |

    Following the battlecry of “The war effort needs your effort”, Anonymous groundtroops from across the world began a series of massive assaults against the antics of the feminist extremeists.

    Anonymous, eh? I’d start with 4chan.

  8. Simply B
    Simply B August 9, 2007 at 11:10 pm |

    Color me ignorant, but is there any legal means of obtaining something akin to an electronic form of a restraining order? It’s probably impossible to enforce, unless there’s a way of blocking IP addresses or user names or something, but maybe if such a thing existed it would at least have some sort of symbolic value, at the least. Beyond that, I got nothing.

    Oh, and may I also add that these people initiating these verbal assaults are a bunch of asses?

  9. ginmar
    ginmar August 9, 2007 at 11:10 pm |

    You’re totally ignoring the amusement factor. These guys always declare how they’ve won when yet another feminist has locked her comments to them and deleted what poor limp comments they managed to post—-screened, of course. I love Livejournal, makes dealing with fetuses like this so much easier.

  10. Another
    Another August 9, 2007 at 11:12 pm |

    Wally: Please don’t call these lowlife “hackers”.

    As to whether it’s illegal, I’m no lawyer, but it looks that way to me.

    As to how to report it, http://www.cybercrime.gov/ looks like a good start, at least in the US.

  11. QB
    QB August 9, 2007 at 11:13 pm |

    If you were directly affected, you have the standing to contact the FBI at http://www.ic3.gov/. Since Anonymous has developed a pattern of following through on threats to harass people in real life, the feds are taking this seriously, and working with international authorities.

    What they don’t understand is the difference between “individual actions”, which may not be illegal (like downloading a picture repeatedly), and coordinated attacks, which are illegal (and can easily be proven), such as planning for thousands of people to repeatedly download pictures. Taking it into the real world makes it Federal, and even International, since some of Anonymous are not in the US.

  12. William
    William August 9, 2007 at 11:15 pm |

    I’m so sorry to hear about that. I hate to see kids griefing like this. Three things to point out.

    First, if the people doing these attacks are calling themselves Anonymous (capitalized) theres a good chance that it isn’t just the ED guys but the 4chan crowd. Don’t bother checking out their site, you’ll just lose that much more respect for humanity at large. Not sure if this will help you out at all, but hey, I figure more knowledge about these…people…is a good thing.

    Second, as much as I regret it, you likely won’t be able to get much of a response out of authorities on this. You might be able to get somewhere if you have their IP addresses AND they’re dumb enough not to use a proxy, but even then it’ll be a jurisdictional nightmare. This is the same group that though it’d be hilarious to make terrorist threats regarding the superbowl and mostly got away with it.

    Third, its probably useful to know that anonymous is a bunch of kids with short attention spans. Anonymous (and their ilk) attack people for amusement. Like most bullies, they bore easily, especially if you don’t respond.

  13. Gayle
    Gayle August 9, 2007 at 11:15 pm |

    You’re obviously keenly aware of what these cretins are doing and how they are doing it. Given this, you are so incredibly, fabulously brave for writing this post! Really, you’ve made me cry and I don’t do that!

    I don’t know what to do, but if someone comes up with a way outsiders can help combat this shit, I’m in. Same goes for the losers who keep harassing you, Jill.

  14. cooper
    cooper August 9, 2007 at 11:18 pm |

    You need an undercover agent(s).

    Aren’t there laws even in this country pertaining to pursuing criminal or civil remedies against perpetrators of DDoS attacks?

  15. QB
    QB August 9, 2007 at 11:19 pm |

    We keep being ourselves and wait for the processes of the law that are already in motion to work

  16. QB
    QB August 9, 2007 at 11:20 pm |

    Oh, and Jill, moderate your comments. They’re apparently watching us all. Incoming!

  17. emjaybee
    emjaybee August 9, 2007 at 11:21 pm |

    Ah script kiddies with a chip on their tiny tiny shoulders. That sucks, but I would mostly recommend document, document, document everything that comes through, in case you need it later. Doesn’t really matter if it’s legal or not; so is standing on a street corner leering at people.

    here‘s one description of what can be done. Basically, talk to your ISP first if your site goes down. They will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting to get you back up. This wiki page has a list of what laws might be applicable, if you ever get to prosecute.

  18. QB
    QB August 9, 2007 at 11:29 pm |

    Linnaeus…it’s already being done. The fbi got copies of all of the planning threads days ago.

    Michelle, close. 4chan helped.

  19. Vanessa
    Vanessa August 9, 2007 at 11:31 pm |

    They’re apparently watching us all. Incoming!

    Yeah, I just started getting “Anonymous” comments a few minutes ago.

  20. Sheena
    Sheena August 9, 2007 at 11:32 pm |

    “How do we respond to this?”

    Apart from everything else suggested, we also wait it out. What the pathetic bedwetters have failed to realise is that feminists & feminist bloggers have been at this longer than they have – a lot longer – and it’s not as if they’re the first to try this.

    Although they might possibly be the first to use such laughably pretentious militarial language. *yawn*

  21. QB
    QB August 9, 2007 at 11:36 pm |

    The real issue that that they have taken it beyond strictly internet harassment and have used the internet and phones to threaten people’s livelihoods and well being. The FBI isn’t going to do too much about crashing blogs — that’s simply too common… but when the stated goal is to cause suicide, or to break up a family, or to cause an abusive husband to get angry at his ex wife, or to turn a community against a family, the FBI notices and acts.

  22. cooper
    cooper August 9, 2007 at 11:39 pm |

    Looking at that site.. I’ve never seen if before,,, there seems to be a lot of stuff there not directed in alot od different diretions. Are you all sure it stems from there?

    They also log ip addresses though so maybe someone was really stupid.

  23. cooper
    cooper August 9, 2007 at 11:42 pm |

    I meant directed in a lot of different directions. Sorry I’m eating a banana.

  24. kali
    kali August 9, 2007 at 11:42 pm |

    Can’t you use publicity, if the authorities won’t act? Post their full identities wherever you can find them out, alongside the text of the threats they’re making. Then Googlebomb them so they can never get jobs or girlfriends again. Or will that make everything legally complicated?

  25. Emily
    Emily August 9, 2007 at 11:42 pm |

    I wonder if William might be right — there’s something about this that reminds me of being bullied in grade school. We’re experiencing our first real attack, in response to something my husband wrote on the blog (I was particularly fond of the fact that some decided that since he was taking up a feminist issue, he must be 1 a woman and 2 a whore. Few of the posters seem to have actually read what he wrote, but we’ve been getting quite a bit of that lately).

    We haven’t gotten any specific threats, like you’ve gotten Jill, but we’ve gotten a vast number of comments (from about 15 users) in about one hour.

    It’s hard to ignore, because it’s so easy to get angry about it. They (whoever they are) are watching — on our site, it’s fairly clear that it’s a relatively small number of people posting under various names, and mostly just copying comments that they’ve made elsewhere (primarily on Shakesville).

    I understand the anger Jill — I’m feeling it too. And it is hard not to respond in anger, or talk about it in anger. I am glad to know, William, that most likely most of this is coming from a group of bored teens (it is still summer … I’m looking forward to the start of school.)

  26. Kelley
    Kelley August 9, 2007 at 11:45 pm |

    Seriously, track their IP addresses, send subpoenas to their ISP’s and once they are identified, have them charged with terroristic threatening.

    Hard to make anti-feminist comments from your PC in your parents’ basement when you’re locked up in jail. It’s time to fight back, and fight to win!

  27. Richard C Mongler
    Richard C Mongler August 9, 2007 at 11:46 pm |

    actually, there is only a very specific type of DDoS that is illegal, and will be prosecuted. the attacks on these blogs and such are not that type.

    expect little response from law enforcement; they’re more concerned with traffic violations than with internet harassment.

  28. Alaina
    Alaina August 9, 2007 at 11:47 pm |

    I wish I knew more about the legality (or lack there of) of what they’re doing. I definitely agree that authorities need to be notified (although it sounds like that’s already been done). It seems that if you can “prove” that they have some sort of malicious intent more serious than just harassing you via the blog (not that that’s not serious) they will have to pursue it. Maybe I’m wrong. Either way, keep speaking out about it. And…I FULLY support the publicity idea above, if that won’t complicate things legally.

    Hang in there.

  29. abyss2hope
    abyss2hope August 9, 2007 at 11:48 pm |

    A strategy I just resorted to when the anonymous commenters ran amok on one post of my blog (moderation was off during my participation in the blogathon) was deleting the worst of the comments and telling them if they were willing to be legally accountable for their words they could resubmit them with their legal name and phone number and once I verified that they were who they claimed to be, I would approve their comment. I also informed them that all anonymous threats of violence would be reported to the police.

    So far, I’ve gotten anonymous complaints but nobody who is willing to be legally accountable. Their cowardice shines through.

  30. QB
    QB August 9, 2007 at 11:49 pm |

    Their IP addresses are “masked” using anonymizers. Not a big deal to track them, but do hang on to them. The Feds can use them when they subpoena lists from the anonymizing companies. And don’t forget, the feds (and internationals) are watching every move they make. They’ll make mistakes and reveal themselves. The feds are just giving themselves rope to hang themselves.

  31. Heather
    Heather August 9, 2007 at 11:49 pm |

    That is appalling and very upsetting. I hope they get what is coming to them.

  32. Vanessa
    Vanessa August 9, 2007 at 11:53 pm |

    Their IP addresses are “masked” using anonymizers. Not a big deal to track them, but do hang on to them.

    I have several already. Can you tell me how tracking can be done?

  33. QB
    QB August 9, 2007 at 11:59 pm |

    No, just hang on to them. We can’t track them, but the Feds can, using Subpoenas in combo with their planning threads on their various websites. If you have been directly threatened or materially affected (passwords stolen, account taken down through bandwidth attacks, etc.), you have standing to report to the authorities. BTW, Jill, watch for bandwidth attacks. Keep an eye on your bandwidth, and call your host for what to do if they’re attacking.

  34. Vanessa
    Vanessa August 9, 2007 at 11:59 pm |

    Also, several hits from an anonymizer site in the UK, and a site called planetx5 and one called newnet.co.uk. Not to mention several veiled threats about personal information on my myspace page.

  35. cooper
    cooper August 10, 2007 at 12:01 am |

    The isp has to track them.

    It is not hard for their isp to get them even proxied. I was getting email way back in high school – obscene email in which the individual pretended to be someone else and we prosecuted that individual.

  36. Alicia
    Alicia August 10, 2007 at 12:04 am |

    I’ve been doing some research about the group that is responsible and their methods. Unfortunately, What they are doing appears to fall into a gray area legally. To take sites down, they are NOT DDOSing them. What they are doing is something they call “image raeping”.

    DDOSing is flooding a site with packets of information to try to crash the server. “Image raeping” consists of them taking an image, and then refreshing it multiple times to cause a website to use up the allocated bandwidth. They have looked at the legality of this, and they chose to primarily use image leeching because it is in a legal gray area, while DDOSing is clearly illegal.

    Another problem is trying to prosecute the website where this is being organized. The website will have all of their real IP addresses stored in its server. However, the FBI can’t touch it because the website is in Canada, which is out of the FBI’s jurisdiction.

    This is the primary information for now. I’ll post back later if I find anything else useful out.

  37. QB
    QB August 10, 2007 at 12:05 am |

    er… giving the attackers enough rope to hang themselves on. Pbbbllltt.

  38. QB
    QB August 10, 2007 at 12:09 am |

    Jesus, Vanessa, you have enough personal information for them to move in next door! Change all of your passwords to be different from each other, and make them strong passwords, and notify MySpace that you suspect they’re trying to break in. (Breaking into MySpace is easy for these guys). They probably already have your info, so I’d probably notify local authorities, too, in case they take it “off the web”. I can guarantee you that they’ve probably left half a dozen veiled threats on your myspace by now.

  39. Vanessa
    Vanessa August 10, 2007 at 12:18 am |

    Well, most of that info is like six years out of date. So they’d have enough information to move into the really bad neighborhood that I used to live in.

  40. QB
    QB August 10, 2007 at 12:21 am |

    I hope you’re right. I’m an amateur, and I could get your full name from that in half an hour or so, more than likely, if you have any web presence at all. Like I said, please be careful. And PLEASE change all your passwords. Make sure any emails you reference on MySpace DO NOT match MySpace. passwords.

  41. Alicia
    Alicia August 10, 2007 at 12:21 am |

    Bad news Vanessa. They have already saved the personal information on your myspace, and one of them searched through your blog and picked up something else. This is a quote from their website.

    “The challenger’s name is Vanessa Gatsch, searching her blog led me to her saying something about another website using her photo. Now normally when using a photo they’d give credit right? Following the link leads you to this page, where you can see her full name. Goddamn idiot bitch, don’t fuck with Anonymous.”

    This is a verbatim quote from their website.

  42. Ancrene Wiseass
    Ancrene Wiseass August 10, 2007 at 12:22 am |

    I love abyss2hope’s approach. I do think the authorities ought to be contacted (police, FBI, etc.), even if they won’t do anything about it. At least it’ll be on record, and that alone could be useful in any number of ways.

    Also, please do be careful IRL! This could well be just a bunch of wankers playing what they think is a politically salient practical joke on feminists, but their threats are frighteningly vivid, and these people could be physically dangerous.

    I’ll add mine to the chorus of voices telling you that writing this post was a Good Thing: this kind of crap needs to be dragged out into the light of day so decent people will see just how nasty misogyny can get–and why we still need feminism.

  43. QB
    QB August 10, 2007 at 12:24 am |

    Yep. Abusive ex got a nasty surprise after months of harassing, when he got arrested for the stalking as well as everything else. And yes, these guys are physically dangerous. Note that I am not using my usual moniker or linking anything. There’s a reason for that.

  44. Vanessa
    Vanessa August 10, 2007 at 12:28 am |

    And it’s especially stupid that they’re using finding out my real name as some sort of victory, as I’ve never blogged anonymously.

    Good for them! They can read!

  45. QB
    QB August 10, 2007 at 12:36 am |

    Good on you, Vanessa. Watch your back, though, please?

  46. Vanessa
    Vanessa August 10, 2007 at 12:39 am |

    Good on you, Vanessa. Watch your back, though, please?

    Ok. I’ve already taken all the precautions you’ve suggested.

  47. abyss2hope
    abyss2hope August 10, 2007 at 12:51 am |

    Vanessa (39) mentioned stupidity and it reminded me of the anonymous who threatened to sue me for slanding him. Poor, poor anonymous can’t go anywhere without being seen as a pathetic monster who rants endlessly and who threatens murder. He’s lost his reputation and he wants it back.

    Can’t you just hear the men who support Anonymous now, standing up and shouting. “I am Anonymous!” “I am Anonymous!” …

  48. abyss2hope
    abyss2hope August 10, 2007 at 12:52 am |

    that should be slandering him, not slanding him. Though, from his pitiful cries I probably did that too.

  49. Tobes
    Tobes August 10, 2007 at 12:58 am |

    I really would like more info on this BB business. What is the son issue and how did she bring this on herself?

    I am confused.

  50. Jacky Tar
    Jacky Tar August 10, 2007 at 1:14 am |

    Alice said:

    However, the FBI can’t touch it because the website is in Canada, which is out of the FBI’s jurisdiction.

    IANAL, nor do I play one on the Internet, but I would imagine that as with other cross-border criminal activity, the FBI and RCMP work with each other. CSIS might also be in on it as well.

    Re: “image ræping”, referenced above; I believe that is in fact illegal, since it constitutes interference with intent to damage a business’s lawful activities. That the target is not the business but a customer of that business is, so far as I can tell, irrelevant.

  51. Alicia
    Alicia August 10, 2007 at 1:15 am |

    She managed to draw their attention through a series of blog posts. In the first, she discussed how she has caught him on pornographic sites multiple times, despite his being banned from the internet. She then talked about how she was sure he would become a rapist..

    She later talked about how he was the result of marital rape, and how she now wishes that she had aborted him.

    The group of people on the website that are coordinating the raids, operating under the pretext that they are trying to aid her son and show him what she said about him, started to look up as much information about her as possible. This led them to going after some of BB’s more vocal supporters, and they just branched the raid out from their.

    I’ve been monitoring their site for a while now, and to date, they managed to piece together clues from her blog that led them to identify her name and address.

  52. Tricia(freya)
    Tricia(freya) August 10, 2007 at 1:25 am |

    Tobes: There’s post with links and a 400+ comment thread on it over at Shakes — if you can stomach the troll derailment.

  53. Alex
    Alex August 10, 2007 at 1:43 am |

    The sad fact of the matter is that most law-enforcement agencies are extremely ill-equipped to deal with cybercrime, and so most of its incarnations which are deemed to be of relatively low severity (harassment, stalking, libel) will generate a helpful response from the appropriate authorities.

    The internet still is, by and large, a lawless place. The illusion of order is created by the fact that most of its locales are run by effective private moderators and administrators, but once the problems grow beyond their scope of power, the visage of the inherent anarchy under which Anonymous thrives seeps trough. And it’s not pretty.

    BitingBeaver has been marked by Anonymous as a target due to her comments, and no law enforcement agency or defense by bloggers (or even by herself) will realistically stop them from digging up her personal information and history and dragging her through the mud. I imagine that it’s very much akin to rape in a psychological sense, as it will destroy whatever illusions of security you have about your privacy and leave you… violated. And, to reiterate, there’s little anyone can expect to have done about it. You’re forced to live through the process knowing what’s happening, to face the fact that no one can help you.

    Anyone who speaks in her defense brands themselves as a target for harassment as well, simply to keep Anonymous entertained while progress on the “main front” (BitingBeaver) is made. Ultimately, what can be done? Precious little in the short term, I’m afraid. In the long term, you could always agitate for more resources and legislation to be devoted to countering cybercrime, and to try to raise awareness of the issues, but that should be obvious already.

    People have tried publishing the personal information of Anonymous members, that only stirs up the hornet’s nest even more. People have tried contacting law enforcement and failed. People have tried counterinsurgency (hacking) tactics against the main sources of this activity, but Anonymous’ hydra has proven to have too many heads for most.

    The answer of “you can’t do anything” will undoubtedly seem dissatisfying, but it’s the most truthful one I can manage. If there was an easy solution, chances are one of Anonymous’ past victims would have utilized it already.

  54. piny
    piny August 10, 2007 at 1:50 am |

    The group of people on the website that are coordinating the raids, operating under the pretext that they are trying to aid her son and show him what she said about him, started to look up as much information about her as possible. This led them to going after some of BB’s more vocal supporters, and they just branched the raid out from their.

    Not to question the all-powerful anonymous or anything, or make this about BB, but are they actually under the impression that this will make her less suspicious towards her own internet-using teenage boy, or less inclined to say exactly the things she’s been saying? Her house is the only sphere that they can’t hope to interfere in. If this were actually about him, it’d probably involve a little bit more consideration of cause and effect.

    Meh. Teenagers.

    These people aren’t differentiating between Heart BB and me and Piny.

    Ironic, innit?

  55. Legion
    Legion August 10, 2007 at 1:56 am |

    “I really would like more info on this BB business. What is the son issue and how did she bring this on herself?

    I am confused.”

    What they’re not telling you is that BB said she wished she aborted her son for looking at pornography. The ED article on her – despite some blogger’s belief it is fake and/or slanderous – contains a full copy of the entire forum post, links to Google cache’d versions, copies other people have of it online, and even screenshots of it. Where is your dog now?

  56. PseudoAdrienne
    PseudoAdrienne August 10, 2007 at 1:58 am |

    Can’t you just hear the men who support Anonymous now, standing up and shouting. “I am Anonymous!” “I am Anonymous!” …

    A true bastardization of Odysseus’s “Nemo” proclamation. Yes, I could hear them saying that. “Look how melodramatic I am, and wretched and emo-ish toward feminazi bloggers and other uppity bitchez on teh internetz! He-Man Woman-Hater Club Unite!!!”

  57. Incertus (Brian)
    Incertus (Brian) August 10, 2007 at 2:02 am |

    In the attack at my place tonight, I certainly didn’t get much in the way of violent threats, but I struck back in a different way. I edited the comments of the people who were just being plain stupid to make their comments reflect their intellect. Had some fun with it. Between that and the IP bans, they didn’t stay around long.

  58. Alicia
    Alicia August 10, 2007 at 2:03 am |

    Another place with some info on them is Fox news. They recently did a investigation into them, and while it has Fox new’s normal levels of journalistic integrity i.e. almost none, it could be interesting. I set the link as my website if you are interested.

  59. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson August 10, 2007 at 2:25 am |

    As a gamer and internet nerd, lover of memes and stupid jokes about WOW, I can’t help but be disheartened. Asking people if they liek mudkips just isn’t going to be funny anymore…

    Why can’t these people stop being idiots who direct their witless anger and hate at people who really don’t deserve it?

  60. Edie
    Edie August 10, 2007 at 2:32 am |

    Mudkips? Google has in-jokes, mentions pokemon. Elucidate, please?

  61. Caro
    Caro August 10, 2007 at 2:57 am |

    I usually just read right past trigger warnings because I like think I’m tough like that… but that comment actually made my skin crawl and my stomach jump into my throat. Ugh.

  62. B
    B August 10, 2007 at 3:14 am |

    I’d say that the appropriate respons to this is for all us non-blogging feminist to start blogging about feminist issues. It’s like they believe feminism is some small fringe movement. Lets just prove them wrong.

  63. Will
    Will August 10, 2007 at 3:43 am |

    Just a word of support for everyone who currently has to deal with this shit, especially Vanessa, piny, and Jill. Significantly, stuff like this brings the feminist blogosphere together, rather than tears it apart–that says something about this community.

    QB–Any tips for those of us who want to blog about this? Should we be particularly careful with backlinks, or anything like that?

  64. belledame222
    belledame222 August 10, 2007 at 3:48 am |

    >Can’t you just hear the men who support Anonymous now, standing up and shouting. “I am Anonymous!” “I am Anonymous!”

    Heh.

  65. Dianne
    Dianne August 10, 2007 at 4:54 am |

    It’s probably pretty dumb of me to write about this

    Not stupid. Brave. It is an issue that needs to be discussed and you are being quite brave by bringing it out in the open, even at risk of being attacked yourself for it.

  66. Kirsten
    Kirsten August 10, 2007 at 7:49 am |

    I think what we can do as fellow feminist bloggers and commentors is say nice things to other feminists bloggers. We should try to make as many “You are great, thank you for blogging!” comments as we can to balance out all the “Death to the feminazis!” comments. It’s a small thing, but it’s one thing we can do to help people survive the hate being directed at them, and make them feel that speaking out against sexism is worth it. And it’ll help all of us keep our faith in humanity.

    So in that spirit, thank you Jill for this post. I love Feministe and your writing.

  67. Gayle
    Gayle August 10, 2007 at 8:10 am |

    Alicia,

    Blaming BB is a pretext and I’m not buying it. She has her own blog, but they went after Heart. And why is a group of adolescent boys (if that is who they are) reading a tiny, newly formed feminist board, anyway? They didn’t “happen upon” a quote on the womensspace board; someone went trolling for something specifically incendiary. Once they found that something, they pulled it out of context, blew it up, and poured on the feigned outrage. Someone was monitoring the board prior to the attacks. . .

    This reminds me of how Donohue (sp?) and others went after Amanda Marcotte. They pull quotes and snippets from her blog out of context and went on a phony outrage campaign, but their real goal was pre-planned. In both cases, they’re out to silence women who write things they don’t want others to read.

    It’s an old, old tactic. Wingers perfected it way back during the red scares.

  68. Gayle
    Gayle August 10, 2007 at 8:26 am |

    Jill,

    I think a web page with some accurate information about the legal nuances surrounding these issues would help a lot of bloggers. Like many on this thread, I’m not even sure of what’s specifically illegal and what falls into those gray areas. Also, when is it appropriate to take a case to civil as opposed to criminal court? There are a lot of lawyers on line, surely someone out there can translate the legal language for the rest of us?

    Another idea is some sort of Defense fund with services for people who can’t afford to hire a lawyer. I’d guess a number of people don’t pursue these cases simply because they can’t afford to. Maybe some folks out there could provide advice and perhaps pursue the most egregious cases on a pro bono or sliding scale basis?

    Sorry if this isn’t coming out right. Must have coffee now!

  69. piny
    piny August 10, 2007 at 8:59 am |

    They didn’t “happen upon” a quote on the womensspace board; someone went trolling for something specifically incendiary. Once they found that something, they pulled it out of context, blew it up, and poured on the feigned outrage. Someone was monitoring the board prior to the attacks.

    I’m with you on the feigned outrage part, but I’m not convinced that they didn’t happen upon it at random, at least at first. The internet will do that to you sometimes: wash someone up on your little island who had no straight line to travel on. I also doubt they would have had to go quite that far to find something they considered incendiary.

    OTOH, I’ve seen putative rogues’ galleries of out-of-context feminist pullquotes before, and it’s entirely possible that this started from one of those.

    And yeah, these little twits are quite a lot like Donohue, aren’t they?

  70. Violet Socks
    Violet Socks August 10, 2007 at 9:07 am |

    Blaming BB is a pretext and I’m not buying it.

    Gayle, you are absolutely correct. It’s a pretext.

    She has her own blog, but they went after Heart.

    They didn’t just go after Heart. They simultaneously attacked several blogs, including mine, and I have no connection at all to Heart’s message board or to BB’s post. They also simultaneously launched a DoS on the IBTP board, which also has no connection to Heart or BB.

    The whole BB thing is a pretext.

  71. Mighty Ponygirl
    Mighty Ponygirl August 10, 2007 at 9:13 am |

    This summer has shown a pretty severe uptick in these sorts of attacks. Gay Gamer was DOS’d over the weekend.

  72. Shinobi
    Shinobi August 10, 2007 at 9:35 am |

    …. Don’t these people have like jobs or something? They are a waste of the carbon they are based on.

    Please post if there is anything us plebians can do to help.

  73. Jaclyn
    Jaclyn August 10, 2007 at 9:39 am |

    I say, among other things, we ALL blog about this whenever it happens (like today). Everyone with a blog writes about it, maybe some people who don’t have blogs start them just for this purpose. They can’t come after us all all at once.

  74. anon radfem
    anon radfem August 10, 2007 at 9:52 am |

    *I’m posting anonymously because I’ve gotten attacked by this crowd and I don’t want to attract more people over here, or over to my blog.*

    I believe that the thing with BB goes back further than this – if anyone remembers when she blogged about having an abortion, that she was massively trolled and stopped blogging for a long time. She only started blogging again recently. As for Heart, I’m not sure, but I believe these people or some other ones, hacked the private message boards that she operated (that BB had signed up for), before they did this.
    Thanks so much for covering this. I thought that most of the other feminist bloggers wouldn’t touch it, because it’s “just” radical feminists, and thanks for proving me wrong :)

  75. Emily
    Emily August 10, 2007 at 9:53 am |

    An update from what I posted last night. Our site was bombarded by a group of trolls, who of course claimed they weren’t trolls (and yes, the post was about BB, but it was a meditation on issues surrounding some of the trolling on other sites about BB and a need for precision in language).

    The blogger on our site (who I mentioned above is my husband) posted later that we’d undoubtedly reach 25000 this weekend (we’re a small blog). This morning, we awoke to the following comment:

    “Just so you know, it was that headline that got everyone’s attention through Google’s Blog Search on the beaver topic. Messages started flying around for people who keep tabs on this sort of thing, then you saw what happened.”

    I’m just posting this to support some of the early comments on this thread – the concerns that “they” are watching and that there’s a concerted effort. Judging by the rhetoric of many of the commenters (“you can’t tell me I’m stupid. You have no right to do that. I’m no different from you” or “I love cake!”) most of our commenters are certainly teenagers. My husband is more amused by these things, because he recognizes a certain level of absurdity in the comments we get (and when they actually attempt some sort of “argument,” he can point to all the rhetorical flaws that they’re making). But we had no real threats, which is obviously much more ominous.

    I also agree with people above who have said that the BB thing is a pretext – certainly the draw to our blog this time was that story. We’ve also gotten some commenters (though not a deluge) who obviously link to us through our comments on other sites or google search a topic. They then arrive at our site just to post terrible comments. Those commenters almost always neglect to read the actual post, and then criticize the blogger for saying the opposite of what she or he actually said.

    I don’t know that our trolls were the same ones that attacked Heart and other bloggers, but there were certainly a lot of trolls coming out from under the bridges yesterday.

  76. abyss2hope
    abyss2hope August 10, 2007 at 10:07 am |

    Can’t you just hear the men who support Anonymous now, standing up and shouting. “I am Anonymous!” “I am Anonymous!” …

    A true bastardization of Odysseus’s “Nemo” proclamation.

    Actually, It’s a bastardization of the scene from the movie Sparticus where the other men stand up and proclaim, “I am Sparticus.”

  77. One emotionally disturbed woman v. A Gaggle of Violent Misogynist Loons: the Internet at it’s finest « yellow is the color…

    […] though. Riehl asks in the post’s title, “Are some radical feminists child abusers?” to which Jill replies “Uh, yeah, probably. Lots of different kinds of people are child abusers — being an […]

  78. Perkyshai
    Perkyshai August 10, 2007 at 10:42 am |

    Holy crap. It’s like sharia or tribal law. That a woman is best threatened by rape and physical violence/death for simply speaking her mind…which is usually truth to power. Cowardly little pissants.
    Collect, document and report. I think the FBI is involved in any cases involving bodily harm that cross state lines…but I don’t know.

    I DO suggest maybe speaking to these folks or someone like them:
    https://www.gavindebecker.com/index.cfm
    Perhaps they can work to develop some way to study and trap these abusive bastards before they escalate to different kinds of violence.
    I really don’t have a lot of faith in law enforcement to take net abuse and threats seriously, particularly when the reports come from women, for various reasons. Some of them have to do with the structure of law enforcement that shields them from widespread phenomema until they routinely become bloody, and partly due to the gender gap in law enforcement…women are usually threatened differently from men. In a system like sharia or middle eastern/african tribal laws, this is institutionalized. Here, it’s less formal, but no less established among misogynists.

  79. Miller
    Miller August 10, 2007 at 10:51 am |

    Good God! Stating your opinion is now a legitimate reason to incite hate and violence towards a person? If the genders were reversed everyone would be calling the attacker a hypersensitive (slur). But when that extreme sensitivity comes from a man, then it’s always *somehow* justified.

    This is clear-cut hate speech. Enough.

  80. Holly
    Holly August 10, 2007 at 11:54 am |

    Unfortunately, posts like this just keep the whole thing going, because it’s precisely, exactly what /b/ wants to see. The more sites get involved and respond, and the longer the whole kerfuffle gets dragged out — in fact, the more “authorities” of whatever kind are called — the more rewarded the instigators will be. It isn’t that hard to understand: the only reason they’re doing it is to piss as many people off as possible. They’re not doing it to “silence” anyone; they want to hear as many loud angry voices as they can, because that’s what “lulz” are. Get it yet? You’re mistaken if you think there is a resemblance in motivation (except maybe at a structural level, sure) between these guys and say, outrage campaigns run by right-wingers. The only practical thing to do is completely ignore it, which is hard because it’s understandable to want to say something, especially when other bloggers are really upset & taking a beating, etc.

  81. LauraB
    LauraB August 10, 2007 at 1:05 pm |

    “anonymous”, aka individuals on 4chan, ebaumsworld or somethingawful, is a totally amoral phenomenon. If you think it is politically motivated or anything like that, you would need a class in its history. It can’t really be harnessed, and doesn’t seem to be predictable except in the regard that something completely ridiculous (like BB’s post) will start a large mass trolling campaign against the target, and whoever gets upset by the trolling campaign in turn.

    The whole phenomenon started, of course, on USENET eons ago, and continues to this day, and does unpleasant things like what us feminists are experiencing currently, and rather nice things like taking out noted fucktard and white supremicist Hal Turner last December.

    Give it a week, and this too, shall pass.

  82. Victor
    Victor August 10, 2007 at 1:54 pm |

    These guys are so horrible. I don’t know if anyone explored their website more, but these guys are holding a CONFERENCE about “lulz” in Chicago in September

    http://www.encyclopediadramatica. com/Lulzcon_07_planning

    ugghh….

  83. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick August 10, 2007 at 2:08 pm |

    I think a web page with some accurate information about the legal nuances surrounding these issues would help a lot of bloggers. Like many on this thread, I’m not even sure of what’s specifically illegal and what falls into those gray areas. Also, when is it appropriate to take a case to civil as opposed to criminal court? There are a lot of lawyers on line, surely someone out there can translate the legal language for the rest of us?

    I think Gayle’s suggestion is a good one.

  84. Jeff
    Jeff August 10, 2007 at 2:12 pm |

    The only practical thing to do is completely ignore it, which is hard because it’s understandable to want to say something, especially when other bloggers are really upset & taking a beating, etc.

    No, the only practical thing to do is take a stand and put a stop to this bullshit rather than run and hide and hope they find a new target to bully next week.

  85. WV
    WV August 10, 2007 at 2:52 pm |

    Any concrete suggestions on how? Anonymous has done this many times, and to many different groups.

  86. Blargh
    Blargh August 10, 2007 at 3:18 pm |

    “I’m sure at some point early in this thread, someone is going to bring up Biting Beaver’s comments about her son. So I’m going to preempt that here by saying that her comments are not relevant to the discussion about these attacks.”

    Guess what: it has EVERYTHING to do with the attacks, you mouthbreathing idiots. Why do you think this whole thing started?

  87. Sailorman
    Sailorman August 10, 2007 at 4:07 pm |

    did you mean to put the trigger below the fold? You usually do, so I assumed it was a slip. And BTW, for your link farm Marcella has also recently posted on this at abyss2hope.

    In terms of how to stop it, your first step should be to contact their ISP. The ISP doesn’t want to go to court and will quite possibly shut them down rather than be sued. Isn’t someone here (jill?) also a lawyer? I think that at least one Feministing author is also a lawyer. They may be able to help. (oops, they’re not so stupid as not to surf anonymously. Never mind.)

    If, however, you can find out who they are then you may also be able to obtain a restraining order against them based on their emails. Jurisdiction can be less of a fuss for criminal court. For the nonlawyers: This is a “do not contact or harass” order granted by a judge. Violation of a restraining order subjects you to criminal contempt, which leads to fines and/or imprisonment. If they violate it ,and if you can prove it, then you’ve got a good lever to use.

    And of course, there’s always a decent possibility that the author is ALREADY on parole, on a sex offender registry, etc. In which case you will have him by the balls, because these actions are almost certainly violating his parole.

    And finally, if you can find out where he works, you may be able to leverage that to your advantage. However, you have to be careful of your own harassment accusations. You might call his local paper, though. You might also call his local police chief.

    If you can’t find him on your own, you might obtain the services of a friendly local ubernerd. She could assist you in tracking down all the information you can. It’s amazing what you can find online these days.

  88. Mighty Ponygirl
    Mighty Ponygirl August 10, 2007 at 4:34 pm |

    Congratulations, trolls. You are the Bill O’Reilly of the online world.

    My favorite troll erruption was when I wrote a spoof post for feminist gamers on April 1st about Sexism in Tetris. Especially when I stalked a few of them back to their den and broke the sad news that they took the bait on an obvious parody and that they were a bunch of gullible twits. Someone tried to make the lame excuse that “well, it says a lot about feminism that we believed you.”

    “…no, it says a lot about you that a post saying Tetris is the most critical threat facing women today made you shit your pants.”

  89. Jeff
    Jeff August 10, 2007 at 4:35 pm |

    They may have the advantage in terms of 14-year-olds with too much time during their summer vacations, but I suspect we’ve got them vastly outgunned in terms of both number and talent when it comes to lawyers.

  90. Rich
    Rich August 10, 2007 at 4:46 pm |

    I’m sure at some point early in this thread, someone is going to

    And yeah Jill, unfortunately they did, and even a member of the Feministe team participated in that. Either put your foot down and stop it or don’t bother saying stuff like that if you’re not willing to take action. These guys are given free reign to comment here and they’re taking advantage of it. And yes they (or at least some) do see a difference between feminists: they’ve specifically singled out women who are against pornography and are more than willing to use other women as mines of information and even potentially allies for infilitrating and harassing specific feminists. No, they don’t want to buddy up to feminists but they can root out who is going to be helpful to them and so far, with everyone disregarding your point that I quoted, Feministe has been helpful.

  91. Not Really Here
    Not Really Here August 10, 2007 at 5:05 pm |

    What we really need to do is every single time anonymous does something actionable, call the authorities, have groups of us monitor their many threads at the many chans, including 4chan, not420chan, 7chan, and the others, and call their potential victims to warn them, and laugh at their impotent antics because they really are stupid little boys who think no one but them knows how to use winrar to embed a file. Apparently the possession of two x chromosomes makes using computers competently impossible, in their books.

  92. WV
    WV August 10, 2007 at 5:35 pm |

    Jeff, go to the “An Open Letter” post and scroll down to Holly’s comments.

  93. Alex
    Alex August 10, 2007 at 6:34 pm |

    [quote]No, the only practical thing to do is take a stand and put a stop to this bullshit rather than run and hide and hope they find a new target to bully next week.[/quote]

    No, that’s the complete opposite of the practical thing to do… you’re stating what you’d like to be able to do without any real means of doing it. Legal threats have never seriously worked against Anonymous. But perhaps I’m too cynical, I’ve seen it tried and failed enough times to no longer view it as a practical option, although I can concede that it could work in theory.

    The only real legal trouble Anonymous has ever run into is when they made national news by making threats of domestic terrorism. That’s a completely different scale of activity, however.

  94. Holly
    Holly August 10, 2007 at 6:47 pm |

    Even in that case, when the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI went after some of these websites (and have been doing so repeatedly because of child pornography, too, as well as law enforcement agencies in the UK) only one person got arrested, and the rest of Anonymous kept rolling along, laughing psychotically. So I don’t think lawyers are scary much in these situations. You could get ten people arrested somehow and the same thing would keep happening.

  95. Being Amber Rhea » Blog Archive » links for 2007-08-10

    […] Feministe » What do we do about online harassment? See, it’s cases like this where I think the “just ignore them, they only want attention” argument falls flat. It may be true that they only want attention; but that doesn’t negate the fact that they’re doing real damage. To ignore it is to condone it. (tags: feminism women prejudice bullying assholes anger blogging abuse violence harrassment hate) […]

  96. Irate Islander
    Irate Islander August 10, 2007 at 8:37 pm |

    I’m angry to hear this is happening. Thanks for having the courage to speak out against it.

  97. ilyka
    ilyka August 10, 2007 at 8:57 pm |

    They may have the advantage in terms of 14-year-olds with too much time during their summer vacations, but I suspect we’ve got them vastly outgunned in terms of both number and talent when it comes to lawyers.

    Oh, boy.

    First: They’re not all 14-year-olds, and some of them are likely making good money as professional developers. I was reading /b/ after the FOX 11 report came out, and one of the posters mentioned forwarding the video to his father, a physicist for a Federal agency. He said his dad got quite a kick out of it, as did his colleagues, who all knew about and were familiar with /b/.

    You’d be having far fewer problems if they were all 14-year-old script kiddies, believe me.

    Second: Y’all need to listen to Holly, and quit going off on tangents about whether she’s being dismissive of the misogyny and so on. Holly understands the subculture of your enemies; most of you do not. Do not make the mistake of trying to use conventional means against guerillas.

    Third: Read the ED entry on Tay Zonday. Pay attention to how he handled the /b/tards.

    Fourth: Lawyers are only any use when you know who to charge. You don’t, and odds are slim you’ll ever be able to find out.

    Fifth: Jill, there’s a progressive blogger out there with a heavy computer science background. Email him and ask his advice, if you haven’t already. Or email me if you aren’t sure who I’m talking about.

  98. ilyka
    ilyka August 10, 2007 at 8:59 pm |

    They may have the advantage in terms of 14-year-olds with too much time during their summer vacations, but I suspect we’ve got them vastly outgunned in terms of both number and talent when it comes to lawyers.

    Oh, boy.

    First: They’re not all 14-year-olds, and some of them are likely making good money as professional developers. I was reading /b/ after the FOX 11 report came out, and one of the posters mentioned forwarding the video to his father, a physicist for a Federal agency. He said his dad got quite a kick out of it, as did his colleagues, who all knew about and were familiar with /b/.

    You’d be having far fewer problems if they were all 14-year-old script kiddies, believe me.

    Second: Y’all need to listen to Holly, and quit going off on tangents about whether she’s being dismissive of the misogyny and so on. Holly understands the subculture of your enemies; most of you do not. Do not make the mistake of trying to use conventional means against guerillas.

    Third: Read the ED entry on Tay Zonday. Pay attention to how he handled the /b/tards.

    Fourth: Lawyers are only any use when you know who to charge. You don’t, and odds are slim you’ll ever be able to find out.

    Fifth: Jill, there’s a progressive blogger out there with a heavy computer science background. Email him and ask his advice, if you haven’t already. Or email me if you aren’t sure who I’m talking about.

  99. Scott Eric Kaufman
    Scott Eric Kaufman August 10, 2007 at 9:07 pm |

    There’s a reason these folks are called “/b/tards.” That said, Anonymous will win, if only because the rest of us have lives to lead. Their lives, right now, are devoted to the entertainment your annoyance and outrage is providing them.

  100. Scott Eric Kaufman
    Scott Eric Kaufman August 10, 2007 at 9:08 pm |

    ‘Gads. Yes, what ilyka said.

  101. ilyka
    ilyka August 10, 2007 at 10:30 pm |

    Hi Scott! Um, and sorry for saying it twice.

  102. mythago
    mythago August 10, 2007 at 11:22 pm |

    Lawyers are only any use when you know who to charge.

    IAAL. Wrong.

    The short version is that you report to law enforcement. You file a lawsuit against, say “Does 1-20″. Then you use subpoenas (say, on the anonymizing service and their ISPs) to find out their real names.

    Whether it’s a hassle you want to take on is a completely separate issue, of course. But I’d imagine that somebody who bothers to be “Anonymous” isn’t doing so because he wants his boss, his co-workers and his clients to know he jacks off to the thought of threatening women online.

  103. Holly
    Holly August 11, 2007 at 1:15 am |

    Congratulations, trolls. You are the Bill O’Reilly of the online world.

    My favorite troll erruption was when I wrote a spoof post for feminist gamers on April 1st about Sexism in Tetris. Especially when I stalked a few of them back to their den and broke the sad news that they took the bait on an obvious parody and that they were a bunch of gullible twits. Someone tried to make the lame excuse that “well, it says a lot about feminism that we believed you.”

    “…no, it says a lot about you that a post saying Tetris is the most critical threat facing women today made you shit your pants.”

    Now that’s actually pretty amusing.

  104. piny
    piny August 11, 2007 at 4:19 am |

    Hi Scott! Um, and sorry for saying it twice.

    Hi yourself!

  105. The Misogynists are Afraid « The Nighttime Philosopher

    […] Okay, I checked out Roy’s blog and came across something incredibly disturbing. Go to this post that he linked to to see what I mean. So, we feminists are coming under attack. Not just any […]

  106. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 11, 2007 at 7:50 am |

    The short version is that you report to law enforcement. You file a lawsuit against, say “Does 1-20″. Then you use subpoenas (say, on the anonymizing service and their ISPs) to find out their real names.

    Whether it’s a hassle you want to take on is a completely separate issue, of course. But I’d imagine that somebody who bothers to be “Anonymous” isn’t doing so because he wants his boss, his co-workers and his clients to know he jacks off to the thought of threatening women online.

    Hmmmm. . . well, Anon’s fucked with a lot of people who didn’t do a damn thing to them. Collectively, they may all be happy to chip in for something like this.

  107. Holly
    Holly August 11, 2007 at 9:19 am |

    The short version is that you report to law enforcement. You file a lawsuit against, say “Does 1-20″. Then you use subpoenas (say, on the anonymizing service and their ISPs) to find out their real names.

    I’m mentioning this for the sake of information — the most popular anonymizing service right now:

    a) is in Germany

    b) deliberately keeps no records of anything that passes through it, as in, it’s all flushed out of memory immediately, digitally paper-shredded, precisely so that there won’t be anything to subpoena

    Now, you could go after the anonymizing service itself. There are others that have been shut down by international investigations followed by negotiation between our government and foreign governments, etc. But then others appeared and became popular, moreso now that people are running them as businesses. In order to completely stamp out anonymizing services you’d have to get laws passed in every country, or an international treaty, probably some kind of “information laundering prevention” act, at least in countries that have reasonable bandwidth to our part of the world, which is more and more of them (it used to be difficult to conduct illegal activities through Eastern Europe or China, for instance, now people download movies).

    From what I understand, there are efforts underway to do this kind of thing, but not because of juvenile anonymous assholes stalking and harassing and trying to ruin people’s lives — because of international terrorism and arms dealing, which also uses the internet. So if anything happens, it will be because of that, although apparently there are a bunch of less net-savvy terrorist types out there who get detected and hunted down because they don’t do things like use anonymizers; juvenile net-harassment experts in the US might actually be more adept at this stuff.

    Keep in mind that there are also privacy arguments that have been made by folks like the EFF and the ACLU on behalf of NOT letting the government subpoena any data they want, and requiring all communication to be logged by every company whose servers it goes through would go a step further. My feelings are divided about this, but there is a flipside to tracking information, right — what about corporate whistleblowers or dissidents in countries with oppressive regimes, do you really trust the government to protect you on this, etc. And no, I am not comparing Anonymous to political dissisdents — the difference is like night and day. But the ability to do something about anonymous web surfing becomes very broad very quickly.

    I’m sure there are any number of people out there who know far more about this than me, though, and it’s possible there are approaches for dealing with anonymizers that I know zilch about. As has been mentioned, there are network security specialists in our region of the blogosphere who could be asked.

    I was almost loath to post this, because you might just think I’m saying “oh my god you guys, we’re completely helpless before these scary menz! Just lie back and think of England and maybe the rapists will get bored and leave us alone! Don’t say anything or you’ll get in trouble!” Which is not my point at all. The point is that sometimes you don’t want to use karate to defend yourself, because karate uses straight, linear attacks. Sometimes you want to use aikido, step aside, use momentum in your favor, etc.

  108. Parents, when emotional, sometimes regret deciding to be parents and other great surprises at Hoyden About Town

    […] been trying to wrap my head around the great feminist DOS attacks of the moment and the long long long threads discussing them: who’s responsible, what they were reacting to, whether what they claim actually occurred, […]

  109. LG
    LG August 11, 2007 at 11:17 am |

    We went through a couple of months of Internet harrassment, some of it through anonymizers, in our case apparently from one particular individual that we knew IRL (or possibly that individual and one or two friends). I’m leaving off my blog URL and the name I usually use, since I’d rather have at least a mild impediment to tracing this particular comment to me (at least for people who don’t know me).

    Lawyers are only any use when you know who to charge.

    I’m somewhat with mythago here; the only way to get the relevant computer trail to prove who to charge is to involve lawyers. (Whether that’s worth while in a given case is another matter, but it does mean lawyers aren’t necessarily useless in the case where you don’t already know, or can’t already prove, who’s attacking you.) I certainly tried reporting to the systems involved (much of it was coming from proxies on AOL that, at the time, effectively acted as anonymizers), detailing the pattern of harrassment, etc., and couldn’t get an iota of the trail beyond the IP addresses I had without any legal involvement. (Yes, people may be using anonymizers that don’t save that trail, as Holly says, but those that do save it will only give it up to legal action.) On the other hand, legal action costs money, and the amount of money was more than I could spare at the time. So, I printed and saved all the attacks in a file, along with the IRL information that led us (along with some non-anonymized IP addresses) to link it to a particular person, so that, if it was still ongoing by the time I had the money for legal action, I’d have a record. And I did consult with a lawyer (through a legal plan my company had – if any of the people attacked has such a plan, use it), and with a friend in the DA’s office (so I’d have an idea at what level I should consider this worth formally reporting, should it escalate).

    The flip side to this is that net harrassment has to get pretty darn bad and persistent before the authorities are likely to pay attention to it. Ours, unsettling in that it persisted for two months and came from an unstable person who knew where to find us IRL, still didn’t reach the level where anyone thought law enforcement would care. But then, there was only one thing that could possibly be seen as a threat of violence, and that was vague enough to plausibly also be seen as just a figure of speech.

    On the other hand, ISPs are often responsive about stopping stuff that’s coming from their site. Libelous stuff can be pulled by an ISP as contrary to their ToS, even if the person who posted it remains anonymous. Attacks from a particular site may be stopped by the sysadmin of that site, even if you never can prove who did them. So, definitely don’t feel obliged to ignore DoS attacks on you in the sense of not reporting them to whoever is in charge of the IP addresses that they are coming from.

  110. shannon
    shannon August 11, 2007 at 12:16 pm |

    Nod, understanding who your enemy is is the secret to defeating them.

  111. Anon-like everyoneelse
    Anon-like everyoneelse August 11, 2007 at 1:17 pm |

    Internet threats are just as illegal as any other form. Call in the proper authorities and press charges. Don’t let people allow to attack women like this

  112. Cassy
    Cassy August 11, 2007 at 2:36 pm |

    Break the links the trolls left in the comments. It usurps your power and gives it to those sites.

    Don’t browse their sites! It gives them traffic & power.

  113. mythago
    mythago August 11, 2007 at 2:42 pm |

    Keep in mind that there are also privacy arguments that have been made by folks like the EFF and the ACLU on behalf of NOT letting the government subpoena any data they want

    Neither the EFF nor the ACLU have ever made any privacy argument that the government should be prevented from subpoenaing anything ever.

    I was responding to ilyka’s comment that there’s nothing a lawyer can do if you don’t know the identity of the person attacking you. That’s not the case at all. Of course it’s true that going after these people may be difficult, perhaps to the point that it’s not worth the effort–but laws and law enforcement can’t tackle a problem they never hear about. Somebody runs anonymizing services. Somebody is further up in the chain, and gives them bandwidth and access to the rest of the Internet. At some point in the chain of abuse, there is a company, or a person with a name attached to them. You go after those people, and you let them decide how badly they want to get beaten up in shielding somebody else’s bad behavior.

    As I recall, back in the old days when we chipped our ones and zeroes out of flint, there was an anonymous mailing server (petet.fi? am I remembering right?) that was finally shut down because the guy running it got tired of dealing with the legal hassles. He was not a jerk himself, just an information-wants-to-be-free type, but it was an early lesson on how anonymity is not just useful to (say) dissidents and crime victims who have good reasons for being anonymous.

  114. Holly
    Holly August 11, 2007 at 2:58 pm |

    Neither the EFF nor the ACLU have ever made any privacy argument that the government should be prevented from subpoenaing anything ever.

    And that’s why the section you quoted says “any data they want” and not “any and all data.” But at this point we’re just quibbling. I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, and yes it was anon.petet.fi that got shut down after a long battle, back in the days when there was just one anonymizer. I used it too, before I became convinced that IP addresses are a Good Thing, generally speaking.

    These days, in a much larger and less civil internet, if you have the time, money, and/or political clout you could probably get another anonymizer shut down, but overall the phenomenon is probably just as hard to stop completely as decentralized sharing of MP3s and movies. It’s not like I’m totally against “calling in the authorities” (despite the fact that I generally trust the state and the police about as far as I can throw them) especially if someone is in imminent danger of harm or stalking in real life. And that can obviously happen, although I don’t think Anonymous is the same kind of entity as say, a battered woman’s ex-husband looking to track her down via the internet so he can kill her. The latter case is far too common and a far more scary kind of stalking and privacy invasion, honestly, even with the possibility that there is “one really crazy person” amidst the anonymous legion who will commit violence or actually carry through on RL threats.

    I do think there are different practical steps that need to be taken if the primary threat is real-life danger, vs. stemming the tide of misogynist hate speech on the internet, vs. riding out a DOS attack, vs. actually dealing with right-wing MRA ideologues. It pays to understand the difference, I think.

  115. The Post On Web Harassment | Diary Blog of Elaine Vigneault

    […] a lot of about online harassment and what to do about it. They’re talking about it over at Feministe and the issue has been disussed on YouTube: via […]

  116. Elaine Vigneault The Post On Web Harassment «

    […] The Post On Web Harassment August 11th, 2007 — Elaine Vigneault I’ve been thinking a lot of about online harassment and what to do about it. They’re talking about it over at Feministe. […]

  117. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead August 11, 2007 at 7:12 pm |

    Thanks for the thread, Jill; indeed, you are very brave.

  118. The Post On Web Harassment | Diary Blog of Elaine Vigneault

    […] Alicia explained what she thinks they’re doing, “I’ve been doing some research about the group that is responsible and their methods. Unfortunately, What they are doing appears to fall into a gray area legally. To take sites down, they are NOT DDOSing them. What they are doing is something they call “image raeping”.” […]

  119. anon radfem
    anon radfem August 12, 2007 at 11:02 am |

    “it certainly can’t be her fault that she posted something so profoundly stupid that the internet is laughing at her”
    It’s one thing to laugh. I’ve been laughed at, it hasn’t been fun, but I’ll usually just laugh right back.
    It’s another thing to send rape and death threats, racist, sexist and homophobic insults, and to threaten to out people and harass them in real life. I’ve seen this posted by another person, but even if the trolls don’t do it personally, if they post her name and personal information and some violent psycho takes advantage of it (the internet is, after all, a glass house, anyone can read anything) … let the chips fall where they may.

  120. damewiggy
    damewiggy August 12, 2007 at 6:18 pm |

    stop, drop, and roll?

  121. DianaBoston
    DianaBoston August 12, 2007 at 7:39 pm |

    I’ve had cyberthreats happen to me and the first thing you must do is phone the police. They should have a special unit that deals with these kinds of crime. And if they don’t then the State Police will be the next bet.

    In Canada I just phoned the RCMP and they tracked them down and had the local police go to the offending people’s houses and tell them it’s either stop or be arrested.

    It’s really very simple actually. Good luck.

  122. DianaBoston
    DianaBoston August 12, 2007 at 7:42 pm |

    Oh, and one more thing, give them as much information as possible and make sure you get all the information about WHO is going to be handling your case. It’s illegal to make death threats like that, it’s the same thing as if they said it to your face. This is NOT to be taken lightly.

  123. Rick A.
    Rick A. August 13, 2007 at 9:21 pm |

    It is probably worth contributing something to this topic, as there are a number of misleading notions about the nature of the attackers, which are relevant if anyone does decide to pursue legal action against these people.

    If you have indeed identified their site, the FBI tends to take a somewhat dimmer view of your complaints of threats of violence given that the header on the primary board reads:
    The stories and information posted here are artistic works of fiction and falsehood.
    Only a fool would take anything posted here as fact.
    -an ethos which given the content of the posts is clearly extended to dealings with other sites.

    These are predominantly university age students or older professionals. This can be evidenced by the demographic observed at panels they have held at conventions, although only a fraction of their sites user bases ever attend. The idea that these are just 13 year old kids is generally down to the flawed logic, poor spelling and the like when they contact you, however any serious analysis of their boards (not something I would recommend) makes it clear that this is wholly deliberate, designed to inflame their target rather than an indication of their intelligence.

    In fact, if you like internet humor and are easily offended then I _heavily_ advise you not to visit their sites. Like it or not, most internet humor originated in or close to their sites – the ‘lolcats’ so popular as of the last year and a bit were a regular feature there years before they entered the mainstreams’ attached files list – and seeing these places would probably color your ability to enjoy internet jokes in future to a certain extent.

    A number of the comments here were written by the attackers.

    A number of these were responded to as serious by posters who almost in the same breath derided the attackers as universally imbecilic. The clues are there, and I don’t mean the obvious ones.

  124. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 14, 2007 at 6:24 pm |

    You’d have half a point, except they’re harassing people IRL and publishing personal contact information of targets.

  125. Rick A.
    Rick A. August 15, 2007 at 2:39 pm |

    The problem with the contact information is that it was all extrapolated from material published to the public domain by the people it regards; whenever they mentioned their state, that somewhere was only x minutes away, what the local topography is like, components of filenames on images…

    The precise resources used are explained on their sites, if you can stomach them long enough to find the details.

    If you ever mention anything concrete about yourself, no matter how obscure, then sooner or later there will be enough out there to pinpoint you, and what’s more since you were the one who released the information needed to figure this out you have absolutely no genuine legal recourse. It would probably get to court, but a half decent lawyer could easily kick out the claim.

  126. Feminist Bloggers Are Under Increasing Levels of Attack : Slant Truth

    […] feminist blogs have been the subject of DoS attacks lately, including Feministe, Shakesville, Women’s Space/ The Margins, and Bitting Beaver (only accessible by invite) . I […]

  127. The Countess
    The Countess August 16, 2007 at 4:23 pm |

    I Don’t Miss This…

    Sheelzebub at Pinko Feminist Hellcat is talking about the latest incidences of trolls and hatemongers harassing feminist bloggers. Feministe is one blog under attack. The attack was so bad that some blogs temporarily shut down. I used to get trolled…

  128. tombeckett
    tombeckett August 17, 2007 at 11:28 am |

    Don’t despair, you are awesome. After hearing that you are all under siege. I just wanted to add my 42 year old white male voice to the list of your SUPPORTERS. Strong, intelligent opinionated women are the best. I am constantly humbled.

    Quiet women never made history and too many loud males have made too much history.

    Peace

  129. Some loser guy.
    Some loser guy. August 20, 2007 at 12:10 am |

    Ive been following this. While action taken are a bit extreme, some of the motive behind it isn’t.

    The response to a man who posted a post of AGREEMENT for biting beaver pretty much said ‘not all men are like this’ but then he was accosted for not doing anything to fight the patriarchy. But are not woman accused of the same crime? Some femists just go overboard to the point of sexism.

    That said, all the websites that have been blasted and shut down….not fair, not good.

    And in poor, poor taste.

    So in short i must say i agree that this was overall bad. If they disagreed so much, they should have taken a different coarse of action then this, innocent website have been crashed because of this. If they hate BitingBeaver so bad, they should not have taken other websites down as well.

    Horrible.

  130. NitNoitorax
    NitNoitorax January 8, 2008 at 2:44 pm |

    Very good website you have here.
    Top earring links!

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