The hacking group Anonymous knocked out several U.S. government and entertainment websites in retaliation for their anti-piracy efforts, as the larger debate over Internet freedom takes another turn.
Anonymous is reportedly taking credit for attacking the websites of the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice, Recording Industry of America, Motion Picture Association of America, Universal Music, and BMI.com, which follow a day of protest over SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy legislation, as well as a DoJ strike against file-sharing service Megaupload on piracy charges.
Police in New Zealand arrested Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and three other executives at the DoJ’s request. Nine different countries also seized over $50 million and nearly 20 domain names associated with Megaupload, which the DoJ describes as an “international organized criminal enterprise.”
Megaupload’s demise continued the debate over SOPA and PIPA, but Anonymous’ actions have inflamed the discussion.
The hackers are using the Twitter hashtag #OpPayBack to chat about these latest exploits, which reportedly required the talents of more than 5,600 members to pull off.
Their efforts will likely receive a mixed reception, though, since many who may have shared a common goal with Anonymous in securing Internet freedom may now be severely at odds with these latest, “cyber-bomb” tactics.
“Get some popcorn,” Anonymous tweeted. “It’s going to be a long lulzy night.” Lulz is Internet slang for “laughs,” and is a nod to the hacking group LulzSec, which often allies with Anonymous.
The collective’s rage was swift and extensive in these coordinated attacks, but many are now wondering if this smaller faction’s approach could drive a wedge between it and the bigger, civil disobedience movement that coalesced to protest the pending legislation. If so, the hacks likely erased some general goodwill Anonymous established with the broader movement against the bills.
The hackers are having a lulz, or laugh, over the “success” of this latest campaign, but its aftermath may find others getting the last lulz, using it as justification to call for passage, and possibly strengthening of bills like SOPA and PIPA.
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