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January 23, 2012

Anonymous' Attack Makes Poland Rethink ACTA

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

The Internet is the object of war over censorship between its users and governments. In Poland, ACTA’s (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) goal was to target copyright infringement and online piracy, very similar to its US counterparts, SOPA and PIPA, all of which are considered “far-reaching” measures to fight intellectual property.

Of course, all of these events wouldn’t be complete without a shakedown from your friendly neighborhood “hacktivist” group, Anonymous.

What we know from Anonymous’ Twitter (News - Alert) account, operating under the handle “AnonymousWiki,” is that they had some plans to attack Polish government sites due to their planned signing of ACTA. On Sunday, parliament and prime minister websites were slow or inaccessible, sure signs of a DDoS attack.

“This isn't an attack by hackers, but just the result of huge interest in the sites of the prime minister and parliament,” said government spokesman Pawel Gras, reported the AP.

“Dear Polish government, we will continue to disrupt and interfere with your government official websites until the 26th. Do not pass ACTA,” a tweet from the hackers said.

Of course, now that it has been the victim of Anonymous’ infamous DDoS, the Polish government is rethinking its stance on ACTA.

With sites still seeming paralyzed by the DDoS, the prime minister and other leaders were holding a meeting to reconsider their stance on the treaty.

“It was a velvet attack by hackers, but still it was an attack. Pawel Gras was wrong,” said Slawomir Neumann, a lawmaker with the government Civic Platform party.

The Democratic Left Alliance in Poland, a group who oppose ACTA, have challenged the government to not sign the agreement, saying it could hurt Internet freedom.

Here in the US, Anonymous acted in the name of SOPA and PIPA, both of which are very similar to ACTA.  And, just like ACTA, SOPA and PIPA have been tabled due to public opposition.

Anonymous disabled multiple government and corporate websites including the Department of Justice, the FBI, Universal Music and more last week in retaliation to the FBI shutting down, a file sharing website accused of hosting pirated materials, which has been in the middle of all the SOPA and PIPA buzz.  

“We Anonymous are launching our largest attack ever on government and music industry sites. Lulz,” Anonymous said in an online statement. “The FBI didn't think they would get away with this did they? They should have expected us.”

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Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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