I had the opportunity to join a few other DCC students to have dinner with Ricardo Dominguez before his lecture. I was a little nervous, and I expected the dinner to be full of awkward conversations and moments of uncomfortable silence. However, that was not the case, as Dominguez had a lot of fascinating stories to share. I found myself laughing a lot at the stories he told and remarks he’d make.
Dominguez, who co-founded the Electronic Disturbance Theater and helped to set up FloodNet, turned out to be quite a fascinating man.
During his lecture, Dominguez showed us FloodNet. Basically, by logging on and running the Java Applet, you can join in the electronic disturbance movement and jam a site’s traffic. The software sends multiple pings to the website, which basically causes the site to overload. By using the FloodNet system, a group of people can entirely take down an organization’s website or network. I can’t say I’d actually use the software—even though it’s technically not illegal, I think it’s a little wrong to destroy an entire organization or company simply because someone doesn’t like it. Regardless, FloodNet is quite a powerful tool, and the influence of electronic disturbance astounds me.
“Floodnet is a Java Applet that assists in the execution of virtual sit-ins by automatically reloading the targeted website several times every minute…Desired effect being to cause to much traffic inside the server that any other user attempting to log in will not be able to view the website.” – From Wikipedia
Dominguez also showed us the Transborder Immigrant Tool, which is a GPS-like tool that helps illegal immigrants find food and water sites while crossing the desert to get into the United States. People have criticized Dominguez and his partners for what they believe is making it easier for illegal immigrants to cross the border. The way I look at it though is that these people are going to try and cross the border anyway; Dominguez is just doing the humane thing by providing them with the basic needs of human survival.
Maybe what Dominguez does isn’t quite in line with the morals of others, but he certainly is passionate about his work. He had an idea—taking a stand against what he thinks is wrong and standing up for what he believes is right—and he stuck with it, and that is commendable.