Anonymous launches boycott of PayPal

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Last night, Anonymous, through its @AnonymousIRC Twitter account, launched a boycott of PayPal. Unlike previous campaigns, Anonymous did not organize a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, which overloads a website and causes it to crash. This time, as one supporter described it, they were launching a DBoS (Distributed Boycott of Services). Backstory: Anonymous launched a DDoS attack on PayPal in December when the online-payment site refused to let users donate to WikiLeaks. Last week, the FBI announced the arrest of 14 people it said participated in that campaign. On Monday, the student newspaper at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas reported that one of its students, Mercedes Renee Haefer, 20, was one of the 14 arrested. On Monday night, @AnonmousIRC tweeted a link to another story purportedly showing a picture of Haefer. Her name had been reported before, and her attorney was quoted as comparing her to Daniel Ellsberg, who famously leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Maybe it was the photo – a webcam shot of an attractive young woman wearing headphones – that got Anonymous fired up. Ironically, a face to sympathize with. @AnonymousIRC retweeted people who said they had closed their PayPal accounts and shared screencaps to prove it. More

Bitcoin: Future of Money, or Scam?

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I haven’t posted for a while because I have been researching Bitcoin, an anonymous form of online “crypto-currency” that has been popping up in the news. Some are calling it the future of money. The most popular answer from a software developer posting on the Q&A site Quora calls it “a scam.” I still don’t fully grasp the mechanics of how Bitcoin works, but the news is piling up. What has gotten the most attention is the use of Bitcoins to pay for drugs through a peer-to-peer network called Silk Road. It was first widely reported on June 1 on Gawker. That attracted the attention of two U.S. senators who are now calling for a federal investigation of Silk Road. The association of Bitcoin with Silk Road is triggering official scrutiny of Bitcoin. Obviously, governments do not like unofficial currency floating around. But it is not clear whether authorities can do anything to end its use. Bitcoin likely will thrive or fail based on whether users remain confident that it has transferable value. I figured that a good way to help me understand Bitcoin is to try and get some for myself. That, however, is not something simple and easy to do. More