Anonymous is raising a sum of $86,000 to help out the 14 members of Anonymous who were arrested in the case of launching a Dedicated Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on Paypal. Anonymous has found a site called Paypal 14 to help out this individuals who they say are hacktivists and freedom fighters who they say were protesting against Paypal.
This Paypal 14 has been started by Anonymous to support the act of moral courage taken by fourteen individuals, who they say, were prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice for a peaceful digital sit-in against the December 2010 financial blockade of the PayPal account owned by the Wau Holland Foundation. The campaigns aim is to raise the $80,000 (U.S.) in restitution owed to PayPal by the fourteen. All monies raised will be evenly split among the defendants. Donations are tax-deductible in the European Union.
The background behind this case is as follows :
In early December 2010, 1000s of people participated when Anonymous launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS) against PayPal. This was to protest PayPal cutting off service to WikiLeaks in an attempt to shut down their publishing. In January 2011, the US Department of Justice issued 40 subpoenas in search of information. In July, fourteen of the thousands who participated had their homes raided and were charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. They were made to serve as an example to us all, at great personal cost. For three years they have been carrying the stress of their charges and the weight of the threatened 15 years in prison and $500,000 fines each, by themselves.
In Citizens United, the US Supreme Court ruled that independent political expenditures by corporations and unions are protected under the First Amendment. When PayPal removed the same right of individuals to spend their money in support of their beliefs, these protesters defended us all. These fourteen and the thousands that participated stood up for free speech and the right to protest for us all.
These protesters were not spreading malware, hacking servers or damaging the website. They were expressing an opinion just as any protester in a park, signer of a petition, or congressional switchboard caller. These people were making a statement and publicly exposing PayPal in front of their shareholders and the world on behalf of those of us who value freedom of information.
On December 4, 2013, 11 defendants in what is known as the “PayPal 14” case pleaded guilty to both felony and misdemeanor charges during their appearances in federal court. If they have no more legal trouble until December 4th, 2014, federal prosecutors will seek to drop the felony charges and the defendants will be sentenced to probation and possibly receive credit for time served. They also agreed to pay $86,000 collectively (approximately $5,600 each) in ransom to PayPal. Two other defendants pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, and likely will be sentenced to 90 days in prison. A final defendant was not eligible for a plea deal.
In a statement on its blog, the spokesperson for Anonymous said, “We do not believe it is appropriate for 14 people to take the fall for something thousands did and many more worldwide have voiced support for. We believe this ransom is being inflicted on our community as a whole to discourage us individually from standing for what we believe in. If we are to have the freedom to stand for our beliefs we must bear the consequences together and together remember who inflicted the ransom on us. Corporate interests have aligned in solidarity against us. We need to align in solidarity with our beliefs as well.”
“We believe in freedom of speech. We support the weak against the powerful. We share this sentence with the PayPal 14”
The campaign is running successfully as of now and the Anonymous have managed to raise $10,078 out of the $86,000 goal they have set up for the Paypal 14. If you are interested in this cause, you can visit the fund campaign page here and make your own contribution.