Anonymous clobbered several dot-gov web addresses early Friday, including Consumer.gov and NCPW.gov, the website for information on National Consumer Protection Week. The hacker(s) posted a German-language anti-A.C.T.A. video and an anti-security (#antisec) rant explaining their rationale for the action:
Even more bothersome than your complete lack of competence in maintaining your own fucking websites and serving the citizens you are supposed to be protecting, is the US federal government’s support of ACTA. You really want to empower copyright holders to demand that users who violate IP rights (with no legal process) have their Internet connections terminated? You really want to allow a country with an oppressive Internet censorship regime to demand under the treaty that an ISP in another country remove site content? Well, we have a critical warning for you, and we suggest you read the next few paragraphs very, very closely.
If ACTA is signed by all participating negotiating countries, you can rest assured that Antisec will bring a fucking mega-uber-awesome war that rain torrential hellfire down on all enemies of free speech, privacy and internet freedom. We will systematically knock all evil corporations and governments off of our internet.
That was the tame portion of the message. The author–or authors–continued, issuing threats loaded with hints of just how bad it could get for those with information stored on the servers they claim to have already compromised:
We are s(h)itting on hundreds of rooted servers getting ready to drop all your mysql dumps, child pr0n and mail spools (to be honest, fucking too much for us to read on our own, so we swap with all criminal underground allies for sex and 0days). Oh wait, what’s that? Your passwords? Addresses? Your precious bank accounts? Even your online dating details?! (yep, We know you’re cheating on your…well, we won’t get into that here. Yet.)
A.C.T.A stands for Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. It is an intellectual property protection treaty being negotiated by 13 countries, including the United States. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.) explains A.C.T.A. is cause for concern due to “significant potential concerns for consumers’ privacy” as well as “the free flow of information on the Internet.” The Consumer.gov (etc.) hackers put a fine point on the problem with A.C.T.A., stating it is “more dangerous and detrimental to our rights than SOPA. ACTA will further spread the contagion of stricter copyright enforcement worldwide, at the expense of our essential liberties and basic freedoms of speech, expression and privacy.”
The E.F.F. states one additional concern regarding A.C.T.A. is it will require Internet Service Providers to “identify and remove allegedly infringing material from the Internet.” It may be a coincidence that innocuous form-building site Jotform was taken offline Friday, apparently after Jotform host GoDaddy complied with a puzzling Secret Service request to suspend the domain–the sort of action Anonymous and other A.C.T.A. opponents fear could become commonplace if the treaty is fully ratified.