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“LOIC Will Tear Us Apart”: The Impact of Tool Design and Media Portrayals in the Success of Activist DDOS Actions

Molly Sauter, Berkman Center for Internet & Society

January 29, 12:30pm ET
Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor

This event will be webcast live at 12:30pm ET.

This talk explores the role of tool design and media coverage in the relative success of Operation Payback and earlier activist Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) actions. Through a close reading of changes in the tool’s interface and functionality over several iterations, the talk considers the evolution of the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) DDOS tool from one which appealed to a small, inwardly-focused community to one which engaged with a larger population. The talk further considers Anonymous’s contribution to the reframing of DDOS actions from a tool of direct action to a tool of media manipulation and identity construction, as well as the news media’s role in encouraging individuals to participate in the Operation PayBack actions.

About Molly

Molly Sauter is a Berkman Center fellow in addition to being a graduate student in Comparative Media Studies at MIT, and a research assistant at the Center for Civic Media at the Media Lab. Her research is broadly focused on hacker culture, transgressive digital activism, and depictions of technology in the media. Her research is situated in socio-political analyses of technology and technological culture.

As a fellow at the Berkman Center, she will be examining conflicts of anonymity and pseudonymity in different modes of digital activism.

She previously worked as a full-time research assistant to Professor Jonathan Zittrain at Harvard Law School, and received her BA in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She blogs at and tweets at @oddletters


Download media from this event here.

Past Event
Jan 29, 2013
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM