Anonymous has hacked ten Australian government websites in protest of proposed changes to internet privacy laws.
The hactivist group revealed to News.com.au the series of attacks were in response to changes being discussed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS). If the proposed changes are put into effect, internet service providers (ISPs) would be required to store user activity for a period of two years, providing the government with a transcript of all user activity and details.
The Australian arm of Anonymous declared it will continue attacking “.gov.au” sites until the bill is halted.
To get their message across, Anonymous orchestrated the attacks to take place while Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was partaking in an online Q&A session.
So far Anonymous has been targeting sites run by the Queensland State Government, justifying their attack with “proof” the State Government has been tracking the activities of small to medium businesses, education departments and personal and student accounts.
“The Australian Government is attempting to strip away its citizens’ internet rights by forcing them to surrender passwords and internet usage data,” Anonymous Australia said in an email to News.com.au.
“Unless the Government starts acting in the best interest of its people, it will continue to bring the noise.”
Anonymous claimed the proposed changes not only strip individuals of their rights to privacy, but further empower intelligence agencies by granting them greater access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
“We no longer know about many of the activities of our governments while our governments have the means to accumulate unprecedented vast banks of data about us.
“Whilst our own rights to privacy dwindle, corporate rights to commercial confidentiality and intellectual property skyrocket.
“We plan to continue targeting .gov.au websites until PJCIS is rejected.”
In addition to opposing PJSCI, Anonymous was also motivated by the Government’s refusal to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as well as the jailing of whistleblower and former Sydney Airport customs official, Allan Kessing.
A spokesman from the Queensland Premier’s office confirmed a number of State Government and non-Government sites had been hacked, but claims the servers have been rebuilt with enhanced security.
The attacked sites are up and running today and include: