A coalition of hacker activists known as “Anonymous” — styling itself a “hacktivist” collective that fights for Internet freedom — took credit for bringing down websites belonging to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Copyright Office, and multiple heavy-hitting industry association sites. Most of the websites were back online by Friday morning.
On Wednesday Internet users got a taste of what opponents of an intellectual property bill currently before Congress say the web could look like if the bill becomes law. Popular websites such as Wikipedia, Craigslist, Reddit, Google, and Wired “went dark” or otherwise modified their usual appearances to protest the House of Representatives’ Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s corresponding Protect IP [Intellectual Property] Act (PIPA). Both bills are scheduled for major actions in the coming weeks.
After months of discussion between and among 1,800 contributors to Wikipedia, the online information source, it decided to “go black" on Wednesday to protest the dangers in two bills that threaten the freedom of the Internet. Many other websites are also participating in today's protest.
With so many of our most essential liberties under attack from the oligarchy on the Potomac, it is little wonder that the freedom of the press and speech are next on the government guillotine.
Google announced Tuesday a new social networking maneuver that will rummage through photos and commentary on its budding social network, Google+, so search results can provide more personal information for web browsing. The addition, which was employed the same day it was announced, will tailor search results by filtering content to the unique interests of each user browsing the Internet.
Members of the House Homeland Security Committee unveiled legislation Thursday that would authorize the cybersecurity functions of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and establish a quasi-governmental entity to coordinate cybersecurity information-sharing with the private sector. The bill, called the Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness Act (PrECISE), would station a national clearinghouse for information relating to potential attacks on critical infrastructure, such as electric grid, water facilities, and financial service systems.
The narrative continues over smartphone privacy issues involving the data logging program Carrier IQ, which was recently found to be installed on about 150 million handsets worldwide, including many popular Android, iOS, Nokia, and Blackberry devices. Controversy over the invasive software stemmed from allegations that Carrier IQ has the ability to record an array of device information, including keystrokes, text messages, web browsing, and user location, all without the user’s knowledge or expressed consent.
The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began releasing documents last week related to what it calls the “mass surveillance industry,” a little-known but expansive underworld of contractors offering tools for governments — from brutal dictatorships to more moderate Western states — to monitor citizens and hunt down dissidents. Furious activists reacted to the revelations by calling for stricter controls and measures to hold the firms accountable as “accomplices” to mass murder.
Here’s a headline the world’s 400 million-plus users of smartphones don’t want to read:
“Your smartphone is probably spying on you.”
A group of anti-world government hacker activists or “hacktivists” under the banner of “TeamPoison” hacked the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), releasing hundreds of passwords belonging to the organization’s bureaucrats. The release also included a message blasting the global body and its affiliates for corruption, fraud, and atrocities, along with a warning of more attacks to come.