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US parole board accuses Amnesty NZ of DDoS attack, blocks server

UPDATED:  Troy Davis has been executed after the Supreme Court rejected a request for a stay of execution.



Thursday 1.30pm:  Amnesty NZ's emails petitioning for clemency for Troy Davis were "most definitely not" a DDoS attack, Brett Roberts has said.

The former Microsoft NZ Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and current director of technology and business consultancy BusinessIQ said the US-Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) defined a DDoS attack as when an attacker "attempts to prevent legitimate users accessing information or services."

He said using this definition, the Parole Board was "drawing a very long bow indeed", since the intention of the emails was to petition for clemency, rather than prevent legitimate use of the server.

Amnesty NZ said it received 800 signatures in under 12 hours before its petition was blocked by the Board's server.

"The most basic email server on the planet would be capable of handling 800 emails in a 12 hour period (and if we assume the period is actually 10 hours that's only one email per 45 seconds which is positively pedestrian when it comes to email traffic volumes)," Mr Roberts said in an email.

Mr Roberts said that while it was arguable that sending 800 clemency request emails was not going to result in clemency being granted, it was "most definitely not" a DDoS attack.

Mr Davis has been granted a temporary reprieve by the US Supreme Court, Amnesty NZ has said.





The Georgia Parole Board has blocked all emails from Amnesty NZ’s sever following an accusation of a DDoS attack.

Amnesty International New Zealand recently launched a campaign to halt the execution of Troy Davis, an American citizen convicted of killing a police officer. 

The campaign involved asking New Zealand members to email the Parole Board calling for clemency due to concerns about Mr Davis’ culpability.  The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency on Wednesday (NZ time).

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand chief executive Patrick Holmes said the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles’ IT department had noticed a number of emails from Amnesty International NZ’s web server, which caused them to accuse the organisation of a Distributed Denial of Service Attack.

DDoS attacks generally flood a website with traffic, often disabling the site due to overload.

These attacks are often associated with the online hacker collective Anonymous, who earlier in the year threatened to bring down the Internal Affairs website with the same method.

Amnesty NZ’s web server administrator alerted the organisation of the Board’s accusation, since the emails did not fall under the definition of a DDoS attack, Mr Holmes said.

The Board then informed Amnesty that it had blocked all emails originating from its server, he said.  This included all petitions signed through Amnesty NZ’s site.

The Board was not immediately available for comment.

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Comments and questions

Time to pay the piper, Troy!

How sad to realise that ignorant, arrogant prejudice is as rampant here in New Zealand as in the USA. seriously you think a man should executed when there is so much doubt? Why so much hate?

Goodbye murderer.

Georgia has never been the smartest cookie in the Union. Proving it once again with a pretty dopey accusation.

On to the convicted individual. Let's hope it doesn't come out later that this was another tainted trial designed to get some or other official elected, only for the victim to be cleared posthumously via DNA evidence. The concept of justice in the US hardly needs yet another of those.

Good on Amnesty International for campaigning 'to halt the execution of Troy Davis, an American citizen convicted of killing a police officer. '

What hapened to 'innocent until PROVEN guilty' - 'beyond reasonable doubt'?

Troy Davis has already spent 20 years on 'Death Row'.

America - the 'land of the free'?

Yeah right.

"The US has less than 5% of the world’s population but over 23% of the world’s incarcerated people.

In the past 30 years, the United States has come to rely on imprisonment as its response to all types of crime.

Even minor violations of parole or probation often lead to a return to prison.

This has created a prison system of unprecedented size in this country.

The US incarcerates the largest number of people in the world.

The incarceration rate in the US is four times the world average.

Some individual US states imprison up to six times as many people as do nations of comparable population.

The US imprisons the most women in the world.

Crime rates do not account for incarceration rates.

Local and state facilities across the country are overcrowded, exacerbate prisoner health problems, risk the safety of both staff and prisoners, are in poor repair, and strain taxpayers.

The nationwide bill for incarceration is conservatively estimated at $42 billion annually (see AOUSC, May, 2004).

Many prison and jail systems havebeen sued for failure to meet minimum requirements for health and safety.

Prisoner rehabilitation and reentry services are inadequately funded."

Penny Bright. Independent 'Public Watchdog'. Candidate for Epsom. someone should only be executed if it is beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty, I can't believe anyone could say this case is clear after watching this video.

There is no dispute that the very same day that Officer McPhai was shotl, that same gun was used by Davis to shoot another man in the face (Davis admitted this, but this victim survived).

Beyond reasonable doubt seems pretty clear here, regardless of your feelings on the death penalty.

No - that is not proof. Not even remotely.

He used the gun in another incident, therefore he MUST have used it in this one? I think you need to reconsider your definition of proof. Beyond reasonable doubt means that there is nothing that could cause you to question that he committed the crime (not performed the action - there is a difference there too).

How about how the "witnesses" have by and large recanted, some of whom now accuse the Police of intimidation?

If he had used that same gun in another incident on the same day, that means nothing if there is other evidence suggesting he didn't do it.

As for the first two commenters, I'd be intrigued to see how you cope with being the one to actually perform the execution. To look him in the eye as you execute him, and live with yourself afterwards. Oh I know what you would say in response to this, but I wouldn't believe you.

Late Breaking News - Troy Davis has been granted a temporary reprieve. This is NOT a stay, but we are trying to get more information as it breaks.

Follow the news on Twitter with hashtag #toomuchdoubt or #troydavis

(Amnesty NZ)

Admitted history of gun violence/attempted murder - check

Present at time of murder - check

Used same weapon previously - check

Winesses - to be honest witness reliability to low in the first place, I wouldn't place a great deal of strength on it.

In this case, yes I am saying that I have no reasonable doubt that he did it.

This is not me saying that all death penalty cases are the same and that there is no possibility of mistakes being made. Personally I wouldn't have imposed it in this case.

Why is Amnesty NZ orchestrating civil disobediance in regards to the DDos attack?

One of Amnesty's guiding principle is " Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him"

This man was found guiltyy by an impartial tribunal. Stick to your knitting Amnesty or you will not even get a brass razoo in future donations.

Sending emails is civil disobedience? how about commenting on a website, is that civil disobedience too?

totally disgusted

@Mac if you read the article above, we were using the normal system of facilitating an email via our website, and by any common definition of the idea, is NOT a DDoS attack.

unfortunately, as per the update above, Troy Davis has been executed. Visit to read Laura Moye's statement, she is the Director of Death Penalty Abolition Campaign and was at the prison yesterday.


(Amnesty NZ)

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parols apparently has never heard of the First Amendment -- you know, citizens' rights to petition the government for redress of grievances, to lobby the government and the right of individuals to participate as volunteers or as part their employment for non-profit organizations -- maybe it's just the 14th Amendment applying the Bill of Rights to the states that's missing -- you be the judge. Come on, somebody sue the b******* for violation of civil rights .....

One more chapter in the USA's proud history of killing people without too much concern for accuracy: