Canada Says “No” to Yes Men website

The Yes MenNate Anderson writes on ars technica:

When corporate pranksters The Yes Men staged a December stunt against the Canadian government’s emission proposals, the group had no idea that the resulting backlash would take down more than 4,000 unrelated websites. Whatever you think of the hoax, the saga is a reminder of the power of ISPs and Web hosting companies. If they don’t like what you’re saying and doing, there are often no consequences to shutting down or blocking sites, even when tremendous collateral damage ensues.

The scenario played out in December when The Yes Men and another group called ActionAid staged a hoax aimed at the Canadian government. They put out press releases and launched official-looking websites at domain names with more than a passing similarity to their official counterparts. All of the materials said the same thing: on the eve of the international climate change shindig in Copenhagen, Canada was committing itself to the most aggressive emissions reduction targets of any country. In addition, it was willing to pay developing countries cash to compensate them for dealing with climate change.

None of it was true. Canada went to Copenhagen with much more modest emissions targets, but soon found itself responding to the hoax and defending its own position on issues like the Alberta oil sands. The Environment Minister, Jim Prentice (yes, that Jim Prentice), soon had his staff blaming the hoax on the cofounder of an environmental group called Equiterre. Equiterre angrily denied the charges.

Read more of Nate Anderson’s article on ars technica and for more on The Yes Men check out the Disinformation-published book of the same name.