Anonymous Shuts Down Corporate and Government Websites Worldwide … The Timing Couldn’t Be Worse

Anonymous Shuts Down MPAA, RIAA, FBI, DOJ and Copyright Office

Anonymous launched one of the largest hacking attacks in history today.

Gizmodo reports that – in response to the Feds’ shutting down of the extremely popular file-sharing site MegaUpload – Anonymous has shut down the sites of the main corporate copyright enforcers, including:

  • Motion Picture Association of America
  • Recording Industry Association of America
  • Universal Music
  • EMI

Anonymous has also shut down the main U.S. governmental copyright enforcers, including:

  • U.S. Copyright Office
  • Department of Justice
  • FBI

Plus foreign agencies, including:

  • French copyright authority HADOPI

Given yesterday’s success in forcing so many congress members to back off of SOPA and PIPA, the timing could not be worse.

As free speech champion Michael Rivero argued after Anonymous took down DOJ’s website today:

In aligning with the pirates and attacking the DOJ, anonymous has handed the US government more justification for draconian controls on the internet.

I would not be quite so upset if this had occurred after Congress passed a draconian web censorship bill such as SOPA. But the fact that this is happening only 24 hours after the web’s successful protest concerns me greatly.

The Atlantic’s Dashiell Bennett hits the nail on the head:

The shutdown [of Megaupload] inadvertently proved that the U.S. government already has all the power it needs to take down its copyright villains, even those that aren’t based in the United States. No SOPA or PIPA required.

Of course, no government is ever satisfied with “just enough” power, which is why opponents lashed out at the regime that already exists. But rather than forcing Congress to back off, the shutdown of government and corporate websites is likely to anger and re-energize those anti-piracy zealots who think the web needs to be brought under control. Instead of surrendering in fear or even taking a more measured approach, they are more likely to double down on new legislation and harsher penalties meant to corral those who thumb their nose at the government.

Had Anonymous not gone on a rampage yesterday, the absurdity of the claims that SOPA and PIPA are needed – and perhaps the absurdity of the shutdown of Megaupload – would have gotten widespread attention.  Instead,  the denial-of-service attacks will likely lead to even harsher crack-downs in the name of fighting a cyberwar.

Disclaimer: I have never used MegaUpload.com, and so may be underestimating its importance. I also don’t know what percentage of their usage is legitimate free speech, as opposed to piracy.

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