Anonymous attacks Internet child porn

Marshall Thompson 

Anonymous, one of the foremost hacktivist groups around, decided to clean up the Internet a bit last week by attacking websites and servers that either distribute or support the distribution of child porn. The loosely organized group of hackers has always had a soft spot for vulnerable groups of people and a feeling that they own the Internet, so this latest target makes sense.

In the past Anonymous has grabbed headlines for hacking Bank of AmericaVisaMastercard, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and even the occasional troublesome online “security expert.” They’ve paid the price as well. In July, the FBI arrested sixteen suspected members of Anonymous.

But the target this time is not a fine, upstanding financial institution like Bank of America. It’s just pedophiles and child pornographers. Given the “victims” here, I wonder how quick the Department of Justice will be to jump on this. The techniques Anonymous used were probably illegal and apparently more sophisticatedthan their previous exploits. They also released the identities of about 1,500 people connected with child porn on the Internet. On the other hand, they were achieving the same policy goals as the DOJ, perhaps even more effectively.

Vigilantism on the Internet is probably less likely to result in physical violence than vigilantism in real life. Does that make it more acceptable? In any case, I wouldn’t blame the DOJ one bit if they wanted to drag their feet on this one.


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