- What happened?
- Where do I complain about my morning commute now?
As InformationWeek reported today, Twitter blamed the two-hour outage on a “cascading bug.” But, the hacking group UGNazi refuted this, saying it took Twitter down with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, because it claims that Twitter supports the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a controversial bill introduced to US Congress.
If passed, the bill would allow the US government to monitor personal information stored online for national security purposes. The White House has said it opposes the bill and that President Barack Obama would veto the bill. Though there are still some hurdles for the bill to overcome, some have speculated that the President will sign the bill anyway if given the chance despite his misgivings.
With the US Federal Bureau of Investigation recently forming a web and mobile surveillance unit, and fears being raised about government drones possibly being used to spy on Americans on their own land, there are concerns.
These are sure to feed continued hacktivism which, who are we kidding, is just a patriotic, feel-good word used by hackers in an attempt to bring a kind of noble purpose to their ego-driven mischief and mayhem. What kind of democracy and freedom are hackers protecting when they take out a network that has become the gathering point for debate and the exchange of ideas?
But, hacked or not hacked, the outage underscored another concern about our reliance on Twitter and other social networks: What happens when they crash?
Twitter isn’t only about individuals. It’s about communities, and plenty of them. Taking away their ability and right to connect is like kicking down an anthill, where suddenly thousands of connections are torn away, and people are left to scurry about to other platforms like Facebook or Google+ or even email where communities may exist but aren’t replicated in full.
AVG experienced this firsthand as the outages occurred just as we were about to host a Twitter chat on kids and mobile safety. As a result, we were stunted in our efforts to meet, discuss, debate and educate each other.
Yesterday’s outage lasted a mere two hours. What happens if it lasts days? Does a tug-of-war exist between government, businesses, users and hackers over the web and our personal data? Will it get worse?
Let’s talk about it here or on Facebook.