Dirty tricks 2.0

One of the media’s favorite stories is how the internet is changing politics. This morning the press treated us to a bunch of stories about blogs and Joe Lieberman’s primary battle. But whatever technology is being used, the dark arts of campaigning are quite capable of keeping up. Back in the day yard signs got ...

607536_Lieberman_15.jpg
607536_Lieberman_15.jpg

One of the media's favorite stories is how the internet is changing politics. This morning the press treated us to a bunch of stories about blogs and Joe Lieberman's primary battle. But whatever technology is being used, the dark arts of campaigning are quite capable of keeping up. Back in the day yard signs got stolen, leaflets pulled out of mail boxes, and the like. As recently as 2002, phone-jamming was the technologically sophisticated dirty trick. But, almost inevitably, it seems that it is now denial of service attacks.

Last night, Joe Lieberman's campaign site went down. The Hotline reported that the Lieberman campaign believes that it has been hacked. The Lamont campaign responded by saying that the reason was that Joe hadn't paid his bills. Now, Lieberman's hosting company has issued a statement saying that everything is up to date on that front. That prompted the Lamont campaign - keep with me here - to deny responsibility and urge anyone who had attacked the site to stop doing so.

Whatever has happened, it is a safe bet that, as the Internet becomes more and more important as a campaign tool, we're going to find this kind of thing happening regularly in tight and bitter contests in wired countries.

One of the media’s favorite stories is how the internet is changing politics. This morning the press treated us to a bunch of stories about blogs and Joe Lieberman’s primary battle. But whatever technology is being used, the dark arts of campaigning are quite capable of keeping up. Back in the day yard signs got stolen, leaflets pulled out of mail boxes, and the like. As recently as 2002, phone-jamming was the technologically sophisticated dirty trick. But, almost inevitably, it seems that it is now denial of service attacks.

Last night, Joe Lieberman’s campaign site went down. The Hotline reported that the Lieberman campaign believes that it has been hacked. The Lamont campaign responded by saying that the reason was that Joe hadn’t paid his bills. Now, Lieberman’s hosting company has issued a statement saying that everything is up to date on that front. That prompted the Lamont campaign – keep with me here – to deny responsibility and urge anyone who had attacked the site to stop doing so.

Whatever has happened, it is a safe bet that, as the Internet becomes more and more important as a campaign tool, we’re going to find this kind of thing happening regularly in tight and bitter contests in wired countries.

James Forsyth is assistant editor at Foreign Policy.

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