Anonymous has joined the digital protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Congressional hearings on the controversial bill, which critics and Internet-based companies like Google claim will kill the Internet as we know it, will take place on Wednesday, Jan 18. Social news site Reddit pledged to go dark for 12 hours that day—as cofounder Alexis Ohanian testifies about the bill—and now members of Anonymous, the protest and hacktivist collective, are urging others to do the same.
Anonymous had previously announced on Twitter its support of Reddit’s planned action. But a few days ago, the organization followed suit by releasing the personal data of Jeffrey L. Bewkes, the chairman and chief executive of Time Warner, and Sumner M. Redstone, a majority owner of Viacom and the CBS Corporation. Both media magnates have “championed” SOPA, according to the New York Times. The release of personal information was the hackivist’s form of retribution
The post on Redstone also links to the various companies that allegedly lobbied Congress in support of SOPA. Those corporations include clothing manufactures like Adidas, Burberry, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, and Dolce & Gabbana, as well as make-up manufactures L'Oréal and Revlon. The U.S. division of the video game company Nintendo and Ford were also cited, among others.
Besides the doxxing of Redstone, a seemingly separate faction of Anonymous uploaded a video on Sunday urging webmasters around the world to follow Reddit’s lead and go dark on January 18.
We request all website administrators worldwide - and especially those running large user-content websites - to black out their website at the same time, to voice their opposition of SOPA and PROTECT IP. This legislation may very well not only change the future of the internet as a whole, but also change the future of YOUR website. Act against it before it's too late.
(The Protect IP Act, known as PIPA, is seen as a sister act of SOPA, with potentially similar effects.)
The text-to-voice video, done in classic Anonymous style, states that the blocking mechanisms used if SOPA passes are trivial enough that any real “pirate” could “easily circumvent them,” but the casual, non-pirating Internet user could not.
“Ironically this legislation does not affect the people it is targeting,” says the computerized Anonymous voice. “Even if you don't live in the United States, you will be affected by this legislation, as much of the core Internet infrastructure is located in the US.”
Anonymous also posted a tutorial for webmasters looking to participate in the black-out protest.