A Brief Dialogue with Keith Downy

And now, full of gratitude and coffee, covered in dirt and happiness, still at camp and not ready to leave—a brief dialogue with Keith Downy

VW: You know all about encryption tools like VPNs and Tor, but didn’t use them when engaging in a direct denial of service (DDOS) attack on PayPal in response to their blockade of WikiLeaks as a journalistic organization engaging in free speech. Why?

KD: It was an act of civil disobedience and I saw no need in hiding.

VW: You were convicted of one misdemeanor count of damaging a protected computer without authorization, and sentenced to the lowest possible crime under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CAA). What can people do to support you now?

KD: They can help by donating to our restitution fundraiser.

VW: There were efforts to legalize DDOS as a form of free speech and peaceful civil disobedience following your prosecution. What reform would you like to see in the legal regime surrounding DDOS and why?

KD: I wouldn’t say DDOS in general should be legalized. A good example being people that use it for extortion or other form of personal gain. However, I think it should be legalized as protected as political speech when used by people to address their grievances.

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