Anonymous’ Busy Week – Hacking into Child Porn Sites and the Boston Police Department

October 22, 2010; Source: WSJ TechEurope and TechSpot | The loose network of “hacktivists” known as Anonymous has been busy lately. One project they have been collaborating on is the removal of child porn sites from something called the “dark net.” The dark net is a kind of parallel web established to protect critics of oppressive regimes but it has attracted others wishing to stay under the radar. WSJ TechEurope reports that Anonymous has taken the problem on by hacking into the sites and releasing the names of those who frequent them. Anonymous says that many of the sites shared a common server that goes by the name Freedom Hosting. Freedom was warned to take down the offensive material but when they did not Anonymous took them down.

Additionally, Anonymous is reportedly responsible for hacking into the computer systems of the Boston Police Department and other police-related sites, reportedly in retaliation for arrests made of Occupy Boston protestors two weeks ago. One thousand user names and passwords of police officers were published. The Boston Police Department made this statement, as reported by TechSpot:

It has come to the attention of the Boston Police Department that various websites used by members of the BPD, including the website belonging to the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association have been hacked into and possibly compromised. In light of this information, the Boston Police Department is requiring all department personnel to secure their login information by resetting their passwords on the BPD network.

Thomas Nee of the Boston Police Patrolman’s Association confirmed that the incident happened and said that there is an active local and federal investigation proceeding.

Anonymous is apparently the embodiment of a self-organizing system, operating out of sight and voluntarily. They are therefore part of the civil sector despite operating outside the law. To me it appears to be perhaps one of the more game-changing phenomena in our environment but I’d like to hear what you think.—Ruth McCambridge