On GitHub, a software code sharing and collaboration website, fellow programmer Jonathan Díaz posted a script and posted a link to a new app on Thursday, Pro-Life Buster, which allowed people to automatically spam the Texas website with “bogus tips.” The developer wrote that the script was a way to defeat the law because it wasn’t up to “anyone to know about people’s abortions”.
On Thursday evening, the app showed that 1,000 new reports had been shared.
Mr Díaz said the app exists to flood the site with data that looks genuine, but fabricated. “The goal is to waste the time and resources of these people to wake up and realize that the effort is not worth it,” he said on Friday.
These techniques, known as “hacktivism”, have become increasingly popular. Last year, TikTok teens and Korean pop music fans flooded a rally website for former President Donald J. Trump with fake inscriptions – then never showed up, leaving thousands of seats evidently empty. Anonymous, the cowardly hacking collective, has protested the policies of the Vatican, CIA and others by flooding their websites with unwanted traffic to try to force them to go offline.
Texas Right to Life spokesperson Kim Schwartz denied that the group’s website was inundated with false reports. “We knew it would happen and we were prepared,” she said. “The activists have been trying to spam and delete the site for a week and have failed. “
Even so, the group’s website appeared to periodically buckle up on Thursday and fall under the load of reports, according to screenshots posted on Reddit and other sites. On Friday night, a judge in Travis County, Texas, granted a temporary restraining order against Texas Right to Life, preventing him from suing Planned Parenthood and enforcing abortion restrictions.
To stem the tide of automated reports to its website, administrators at Texas Right to Life have added a new version of a Captcha, a program that tries to filter out real human responses from automated computer reports.
But some hacktivists persisted. One of them posted a screenshot on Reddit of a fake report that indicated that some of Marvel’s Avengers were abortion seekers. On Twitter, people posted screenshots of more fake advice. One user sarcastically reported that he wanted to retroactively abort his 30-year-old son who apparently wouldn’t leave the house.