This petition appeared on the White House’s We The People section on Monday.

Make, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), a legal form of protesting.

With the advance in internet techonology [sic], comes new grounds for protesting. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), is not any form of hacking in any way. It is the equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage. It is, in that way, no different than any “occupy” protest. Instead of a group of people standing outside a building to occupy the area, they are having their computer occupy a website to slow (or deny) service of that particular website for a short time.

As part of this petition, those who have been jailed for DDoS should be immediatly [sic] released and have anything regarding a DDoS, that is on their “records”, cleared.

They make a curious argument about their preferred method of attack. DDoS attacks, after all, are the virtual equivalent to a sit-in protest, albeit one that you can’t call the in police to stop. Those kind of attacks don’t do any real damage to a website, and they aren’t violating any laws since they’re just banging away at the public side of a website.

But, an important counterpoint is that for a DDoS attack to be successful against most large websites, the DDoS’ers need to have control of thousands of systems. One lone PC isn’t bringing down PayPal. And, generally, the method of accessing and controlling those systems are completely illegal.

Which brings us to question if a form of protest can be legal if it is dependent on an illegal action to pull off. Sort of like the Mexican drug cartels buying anti-pot legalization ads (which may have happened in this last election cycle).

Personally, I’m fine with DDoS attacks as legal protesting, provided you’ve got an army of real people behind computers furiously mashing away at the F5 key. But, if you’re using malware to bot-out the machines of unwilling participants? Not so much.

Post Script: The guy that submitted this is probably utterly mortified that he misspelled technology, and is probably being hacked to all hell by the FBI and NSA right now.