So, here’s a question: how much hacktivism should be tolerated?

This cropped up in a discussion with a friend regarding the arrest of the Anonymous members who had taken part in the LOIC attacks against organisations perceived to be against WikiLeaks, including Amazon and PayPal. In the “Real World”, people have a right to demonstrate, get out on a march and wave banners and all the rest, as well as peaceful sit-ins, flashmobs and other acts of disruption. Some members of our society would shudder at rubbing shoulders with thousands of people and would prefer to spend their time in front of a screen.

Are their views any less important that those more socially adept? And if not, what outlet do they have to express their views?

From an information security perspective, you have to assume that there are always people out to get you and, if you do a good job, it should affect you too much if people start targeting you. However, recent events have shown that Distributed Denial of Service attacks against organisations with very sophisticated infrastructures can be very disruptive.

Should the organisers or participants in online demonstrations be punished more severely than those taking part in equivalent physical demonstrations? How should companies react to them?