(MintPress) — The renegade hacker group “Anonymous” has begun to expose and shutdown illegal sites dedicated to sharing child pornography. The underground sites frequented by pedophiles are under attack from the group, with Anonymous members exposing the names and addresses of child pornography users. While the group has come under scrutiny for illegally shutting down […]
(MintPress) — The renegade hacker group “Anonymous” has begun to expose and shutdown illegal sites dedicated to sharing child pornography. The underground sites frequented by pedophiles are under attack from the group, with Anonymous members exposing the names and addresses of child pornography users. While the group has come under scrutiny for illegally shutting down government websites in the past, the cause celebre of the group: attacking and exposing pedophiles may be winning Anonymous friends in the fight to end sex crimes against children.
While many, particularly within the government have labeled the group as an “illegal vigilante hacker collective,” law enforcement agencies have worked with the group previously to track and eventually arrest pedophiles who view and share child pornography.
Previously, the group claims to have shut down 40 websites, containing more than 100 GB of content depicting children being abused. However, proliferation of pedophila chat sites has prompted the group to take further action. In a recent statement, an unidentified spokesperson for the group commented, saying, “Recently it has come to our attention that there has been a surge of websites dedicated to pedophiles for chat and picture sharing.”
Continuing, the hackers have stated, “Anonymous’ aim is to diminish if not eradicate this plague from the internet. For the good of our followers, for the good of mankind, and for our own enjoyment we shall expel from the internet and systematically destroy any such boards that continue to operate.”
What is Anonymous?
Anonymous formed in 2003 on online hacker forums. Because of the secretive, illegal work of the group, little is known about the numbers who contribute to the decentralized hacker network. However, much like the Wikileaks project, Anonymous has worked to expose corruption and criminal activity within the government and the military.
The “Anonymous” mask has become a frequent sight at Occupy protests, as many who work for the group also support many of the positions of the Occupy movement.
Perhaps the best known work of the group came during October 2011, when the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The stated purpose of the bill was “to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.”
The bill was supported by many within the motion picture and music industries, because the proposed legislation would work to shutdown websites containing pirated material. However, the public backlash was widespread, with critics lambasting the bill for threatening internet freedoms. The vociferous opposition to the legislation was immediate, with 7 million individuals signing an online petition against SOPA, sponsored by the search engine Google.
Immediately following the introduction of the SOPA, Anonymous launched multiple coordinated attacks on websites supporting the bill. Due to strong public opposition, the bill failed to gather the necessary support to move forward.
Additionally, Anonymous has attacked the Department of Justice website and U.K. government websites because of “draconian surveillance policies.” The group also threatened to shut down the popular social networking site Facebook in 2011.