First, let's get one thing straight. You can consider tugging on Superman's cape. You can probably spit into the wind without severe repurcussions. You can suggest that Michael Arrington likes to dress up in women's clothing and go clubbing in his size 14 stilettos. You can do and say all kinds of things on the Net that would be otherwise considered vulgar or even dangerous in civilized company.
But you don't mess around with 4chan, the most diabolical, fiendish, loosely disorganized body of digital miscreants on the InterWebs. Anybody with any sense knows that.
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Well, make that anybody but London firm ACS:Law, which decided to mess around with 4chan and is now paying the price (along with a lot of otherwise innocent people).
As regular readers of this blog know, 4chan is the group loosely associated with "Anonymous," which caused the Church of Scientology fits in 2008 and posted fake news reports of the death (from cocaine overdose) of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in July 2009. The 4chan message board is responsible for such Internet memes as Rickrolling and Lol Catz, and its members managed to get their nominal leader, Christopher Pool (aka Moot), elected Time Magazine's "Most Influential Person of 2009" by gaming the Time.com website.
The collective ingenuity and sheer adolescent bravado of the 4channers is something to behold. Like I said, you don't want to mess with them.
Recently, 4chan began venting its ire upon the RIAA, the MPAA, and agents engaged by said parties to take down BitTorrent sites like Pirate Bay in what it called "Operation: Payback is a bitch." The 4channers began by launching DDoS attacks against these sites on earlier this month, taking them offline for a few hours, grabbing a few headlines, but otherwise having little more than a symbolic impact on their operations.