Anonymous Hacks, Defaces US Government Website

In a sharp escalation of its standoff with federal authorities, internet activist group Anonymous hacked into a US government website in retaliation for the death of Aaron Schwartz, and has threatened leak sensitive government information.

Hacking and defacing of the website of United States Sentencing Commission, which comes under the US Department of Justice, was in revenge of what it called the unnecessary death of fellow internet activist Aaron Schwartz, for which Anonymous blamed US federal prosecutors and that country’s justice system.

“Two weeks ago today, a line was crossed. Two weeks ago today, Aaron Swartz was killed. Killed because he faced an impossible choice. Killed because he was forced into playing a game he could not win — a twisted and distorted perversion of justice — a game where the only winning move was not to play,” said the message posted by Anonymous on USSC website.

Anonymous also had files posted on the USSC website, under the names of US Supreme Court Judges, which it said contained sensitive government information. Keys for decrypting the data in the files will be provided to selected media at a future date, the message posted on the website said.

Earlier this week, Anonymous had called for a “civil war,” to overthrow the US government, which according to the group has insisted on calling them “terrorists.”

In what was reminiscent of recent Delhi government’s reaction to widespread protests in India’s capital city against the gang rape and murder of a 23-year old woman in Delhi, Anonymous asked in a statement posted online, whether the “United States government is truly afraid of we, the people?” In response to peaceful street protests, Delhi police had used tear gas and water cannons to disburse protestors.

Aaron Schwartz, 26, was a political organizer and founder of social news website Reddit, who fought against US law Stop Online Piracy Act. When Schwartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on 11 January, US federal authorities were pursuing charges against him for unauthorized mass download of material from JSTOR, an online repository of academic journals.

The group said it does not expect or desire to be negotiated with but has called for upholding rights guaranteed by the constitution, especially by federal prosecutors.

Peaceful protests, including Occupy Wall Street where Anonymous played a central role, has not brought about any lasting legislative changes and hence it is time to “openly declare war against United States government,” the group said in its statement.

The activist group said that the USSC website was chosen due to “the symbolic nature of its purpose — the federal sentencing guidelines which enable prosecutors to cheat citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial, by a jury of their peers — the federal sentencing guidelines which are in clear violation of the 8th amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishments.”

In India, in the recent past, Anonymous has hacked into various government websites to protest policies that the group called were meant to censor free speech.(Source- Timeofindia)

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