More than 1,000 heavily armed federal agents and local police fanned out across Southern California and cities in five other states early this morning, arresting dozens of members of the notorious Mongols motorcycle gang on federal racketeering charges.
But the most lasting blow to the San Gabriel Valley-based bikers may be down the road: In an unusual maneuver, the feds are also seeking to seize control of the Mongols’ trademarked name, which is typically accompanied by its cherished insignia — a ponytailed Genghis Khan-like figure riding a chopper.
U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien said if his plan is successful, the government would take over ownership of the trademark, and anyone caught wearing a Mongols patch could have it seized by law enforcement on the spot.
“Not only are we going after the Mongols’ motorcycles, we’re going after their very identity,” O’Brien said in a telephone interview early this morning. “We are using all the tools at our disposal to crush this violent gang.”
The actual numbers may be far larger; Microsoft investigators, who say they are tracking about 1,000 botnets at any given time, say the largest network still controls several million PCs.
“The mean time to infection is less than five minutes,” said Richie Lai, who is part of Microsoft’s Internet Safety Enforcement Team, a group of about 20 researchers and investigators. The team is tackling a menace that in the last five years has grown from a computer hacker pastime to a dark business that is threatening the commercial viability of the Internet.
And, with Macs becoming more popular, we may soon see a real test of its vaunted FreBSD roots.
THROUGHOUT this election season, Americans have used the extraordinary capacity of digital technologies to capture and respond to arguments with which they disagree. YouTube has become the channel of choice for following who is saying what, from the presidential campaign to races for city council.
But this explosion in citizen-generated political speech has been met with a troubling response: the increasing use of copyright laws as tools for censorship.