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Georgia Parole Board blocks Amnesty email campaign

Servers hosed by 800 messages, it seems

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The Georgia Parole Board has decided that a mass email campaign counts as a denial of service campaign, and is consequently dropping traffic from Amnesty International New Zealand.

The human rights organization had launched a campaign in New Zealand calling for clemency for Troy Davis, convicted of killing a policeman and sentence to death by lethal injection. The case has generated protests and has attracted criticism from high-profile figures like former US president Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The New Zealand campaign was a straightforward Web petition. The withering barrage of 800 emails – no, The Register hasn’t left out some zeroes here – was apparently fingered as a DoS attack by the Parole Board’s IT department, and all traffic from Amnesty NZ was blocked, according to National Business Review.

After the traffic was blocked, Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand wrote that the board’s actions “shows a callous disregard … for those New Zealanders they prevented by taking action by blocking our server”.

Its CEO Patrick Holmes denies that sending 800 mails falls under the definition of a denial of service.

With the execution due at 7pm on 21 September (Georgia time), it’s quite likely that international campaigns are now too late to make any difference. There are faint hopes of either appeals through the courts, and the NAACP says it will ask President Obama to intervene. ®

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