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Human rights sites being attacked, Wikileaks style

A woman reads a WikiLeaks page on December 6, 2010 in Washington, D.C. WikiLeaks has divulged a secret list compiled by Washington of key infrastructure sites around the world that could pose a critical threat to U.S. security if they come under terrorist attack.

The recent online battles over Wikileaks have given us a preview of a form of warfare that we may be seeing a lot of in the near future. After the leaks started coming out, opponents of Wikileaks would flood the wikileaks.org website with simulated traffic until the server crashed and the site went dark. Then SUPPORTERS of Wikileaks would attack the sites of Wikileaks opponents or of businesses they felt were treating Wikileaks unfairly. Soon, sites started crashing all over the world.

But generally the sites that tended to fare the best against these attacks were the larger ones sponsored and supported by Amazon or Google. Smaller sites got blasted.

Human rights sites and sites run by political dissidents don't tend to have huge budgets to afford large scale durable server support. But they do tend to make a lot of enemies interested in taking them down.

Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society has issued a report this week on how these attacks affect human rights websites. Ethan Zuckerman is a senior researcher at Berkman Center and joins us to discuss their findings.

Also in this show, comedian and friend of the show Paul F. Tompkins tells us about his favorite app: TripIt. It lets him get all his air travel done with the minimum amount of aggravation. Although admittedly it hampers his ability to do those hilarious stand-up jokes about air travel. Because those are always so fresh and funny.

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