Hackers use Flag Day to protest Federal Reserve

June 14, 2011 8:05:45 PM PDT
Hackers belonging to a group called "Anonymous" wanted to make a statement Tuesday about America's banking system. They pushed for protests in public spaces and online.

Wearing masks and holding signs, a small protest group answered an online call to make Flag Day a time to speak out against big banks.

The group is calling for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to step down, saying he is not doing enough to fix the federal government's ever-rising debt.

In fact, they want to dismantle the fed altogether and hand the authority to print money back to Congress.

"This is not what our forefathers intended for our currency system," one protester said.

"Anonymous" organized the demonstration with a widely circulated YouTube video narrated by a computerized voice.

The gathering it called for is just one of two prongs to this protest. Demonstrators would not talk about the other.

"I know nothing about the denial of service attacks on the website," a protester said.

The second prong of the protest is what experts at CNET compare to a digital sit-in. Instead of occupying a public space, protesters tried to occupy all the available bandwidth to the Fed's website in hopes of knocking it offline.

Tech writer Elinor Mills says in the past few years, so-called "hacktivists" have gathered enough volunteers to successfully bring down much bigger websites, including Visa, MasterCard and PayPal after those companies blocked donations to WikiLeaks.

"Any disruption or protest that they can -- online and offline; that's supposedly what they're after," Mills said.

By late afternoon, the Fed's website was still up -- but running slowly.

And though street demonstrators would not say if they took part in the online attack, one did say, "Maybe it's a good idea, I don't know."


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