By Mark Wachtler
July 15, 2012. Nowhere and everywhere. That’s where Anonymous, the globally mysterious collection of tech-savvy freedom fighters, calls home. That also seems to be where authorities find the world’s pedophiles, preying on the young and the innocent. Now, the cyber-revolutionaries are taking it upon themselves to do what authorities have proven unable or unwilling to do – take down child predators not just on the internet, but in real life.
Anonymous goes after child predators.
On July 7, Anonymous members released an announcement of their latest underground campaign – Operation PedoChat. The following day, an accompanying video appeared on YouTube. Both releases placed the crosshairs of their next offensive on the world’s pedophiles. They also asked governments and the news media across the globe to do more to raise awareness of just how rampant child pornography and child prostitution have become online.
The National Examiner covering Anonymous published excerpts from both the written release, as well as the video.
From the Anonymous press release:
“Lately, there has been a surge of websites dedicated to pedophiles for chat, picture sharing, etc… This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. WE Anonymous aim to diminish if not eradicate this plague from the Internet. For the good of our followers, for the good of mankind, and for our own enjoyment we shall expel from the Internet and systematically destroy any such boards that continue to operate.”
The corresponding video released by Anonymous announced:
“Hello Citizens of the world, We are Anonymous.
Dear brothers and sisters. Now is the time to open your eyes and expose the truth! Recently it has come to our attention that there has been a surge of websites dedicated to pedophiles for chat and picture sharing. These pedophiles openly advocate concepts like “man-boy Love”, stating that 8 year-old boys enjoy it and pray on their attention. This is not limited to boys. Boards for little girls exist and operate with impunity. Child pornography is frequently traded and even innocent pictures of random children, at the beach, on a playground, in their homes, are publicly fantasized about.
Anonymous aims to diminish if not eradicate this plague from the Internet…Anonymous recognizes this as a serious undertaking and do not expect it to be completed in a short period of time. Factions of Anonymous from all over the globe are participating in sub-operations. Information on pedophiles is being gathered and released.
Anonymous calls on the ninety-nine percent to contact elected representatives and tell them to stop these disgusting practices by pedophiles. Anonymous calls on the ninety-nine percent to contact every reporter and blogger to create political and social pressure on these pedophile sites.
We are anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive
We do not forget
The above was from the National Examiner covering Anonymous.
Action is swift
Members of Anonymous didn’t waste any time going into action. Within hours, child pornography sites across the globe began being exposed and sabotaged. According to an account by ZDNet on July 10, ‘A quick check of the attacked portals shows some are still down. Unfortunately, others have already returned. At the time of writing, I counted 85 domains being targeted by Anonymous – the number is higher if you count individual websites. This is a growing number: more and more are being added on a regular basis.’
Anonymous has not only shut down dozens of pedophile websites, but also released names, owners, 500 email addresses, IP addresses, and in some cases, actual emails. The first major casualty was a Belgian politician named Hans-Peter Luyckx. Mr. Luyckx denies the accusations by Anonymous and instead insists his computer was hacked by unknown persons. According to a report by AFP, Belgian authorities suggested they were taking the accusations seriously and looking into the details. They also indicated they were simultaneously investigating Anonymous members.
This isn’t the first time Anonymous has launched a global offense against online child predators. Last year, Anonymous carried out Operation Darknet. In that coordinated worldwide attack, the cyber-rebels exposed and targeted 40 pedophile websites and exposed over 1,500 alleged pedophiles.
One indication of how large and wide-spread this offensive is by Anonymous can be seen in the various factions from around the world rallying to the cause. Already, the Anonymous announcements have been translated into French, German, Greek and more as the battle cry spreads to underground Anonymous cells across the globe.
Some, including this author, suspect this latest salvo against the child pornography industry has a number of additional motives and benefits. It’s no secret that Anonymous has seen some of its best activists taken into police custody over the past six months. Some wondered just how badly the underground organization was devastated when recent efforts turned out to be little more than flooding a target’s servers with traffic, bringing down their public-facing website temporarily.
This latest offensive takes that into consideration. What better way to bring the various nervous Anonymous cells out of hiding than an attack on an easy target. Joining with society as a whole and going after pedophiles poses little down-side. Not only does it reinforce Anonymous’ image with the public as ‘the good guys’, it gives the newest generation of hackers some much-needed experience.
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