Hi Blog: One learns something new every day. Today’s lesson for me is how tenuous our connections with the Internet are, and how quickly the trappings of modern life one learns to take for granted can be taken away.
I’m referring to this website, debito.org, something I have been working on for nearly a decade to provide a valuable record on life and human rights in Japan. It got zapped today (January 16, 2007) by anonymous Cyberspace terrorists in the name of 2-Channel.
How this came about:
About a week ago, Yuukan Fuji (one of Japan’s most influential daily tabloids) reported that a 35-year-old guy sued 2-Channel (the world’s largest internet bbs) for libel and won. They also reported that he would be seizing the 2-Channel domain name within about a week (i.e. yesterday), and due to that 2-Channel would be closed down.
I also happen to have a libel lawsuit victory outstanding with 2-Channel (see, eventually, http://www.debito.org/2channelsojou.html). However, the Yuukan Fuji article wasn’t about me. I am not 35, and I have never advocated that 2-Channel be closed down. (Quite the opposite–I have said at various junctures that I think 2ch offers a very valuable service, and despite the bad eggs it should continue to exist.) I just wanted 2ch Administrator Nishimura Hiroyuki to honor the Iwamizawa District Court decision: pay damages, delete the libelous posts in question, and reveal the poster(s)’ IP addresses. (To this day, none of these things have been done.)
Unfortunately, the cyberspace terrorists out there (who are, according to my sources, becoming ever more sophisticated these days) do not have a great record regarding reading comprehension or research, and decided that I was the one to take revenge against.
From Monday morning Jan 15, the hate mail began trickling in. Then the death threats. Finally, according to my website domain admin today, debito.org has been zapped–i.e. people with large bandwidths have aimed internet guns and fired millions of page accesses onto my the debito.org server, overloading it and closing it down. Which means I am stuck without a site, or a blog, or email, until they get bored.
This is why, for the time being, debito.org will be inaccessible. Pity this had to happen. But given the fact that practically all the world’s major sites have had to face this kind of dilemma (apparently cyberterrorists have become cyber blackmailers, similarly crippling websites for major world corporations until a fee is paid), this is becoming an argument for policing the Internet better.
For if people like these can get away with hurting people, then decide to hurt those same people further if they try to defend themselves through legally-sanctioned means, then we have a culture of lawlessness that needs to be addressed.
In the end, it shows me that we as human beings have not evolved far from the apes and the wolf packs. Would have thought that developing a written language would have separated us. Instead, it, and its delivery vehicles, are enjoying knock-on effects as weapons.
It is things like these which have spoiled the Internet (once a more pleasant place to garner information and meet people) for the rest of us. Damned shame. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
PS: The most ironic thing about this whole issue is that most of the hate mail and death threats are in English. Native English, for the most part. Claiming responsibility for all this is some place called “4chan” which is apparently the overseas version of 2-Channel, with the same attitude towards information, anonymity, and personal responsibility. Replication imminent.
I keep saying this, but leave lawnessness alone and it spreads through copycatting. Copycats like any game of “monkey see, monkey do”, just so long as it suits their interests and they get off scot-free.
Meanwhile, 2-Channel did NOT go down. It was a hoax. And I had nothing to do with it. Yet these cyberelements just keep on plugging away to overwhelm the servers at debito.org.
So much for their claim to defense of freedom of speech.