On Friday I wrote an Opinion piece for The Age based on an earlier blog about why I think Australia’s proposed data retention laws are not only an invasion of privacy, they are an expensive measure that simply won’t work. Today The Age ran a longer journalistic piece about the laws.
This prompted a couple of tweets from the Twitter account that claims to represent the Australian arm of Anonymous:
This is the same group who claimed responsibility for hacking ASIO earlier this year. Here’s the pastebin dump of ‘targets’ for hacking that they refer to in the tweets above:
Reason: Submitted to PJCIS
All Other Names, To be doxed.
If Vulns Found. Please MESSAGE an Operator on the #OpAustralia Channel.
NO DDOS (Yet)
1. Office of the Inspector of the Independent Commission Against Corruption
2. Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law
3. A Brunatti and N Abdalla, Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, Brunel University
4. Public Interest Advocacy Centre
5. Australian Society of Archivists
6. Law Council of Australia
7. Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
8. Commonwealth Ombudsman
9. Engineers Australia
10. NSW Ombubsman
11. Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner
12. Cisco Systems Australia Pty Limited
13. Vodafone Hutchison Australia
14. Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association and Communications Alliance
15. Macquarie Telecom
16. Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 17. Australia Taxation Office
18. Electronic Frontiers Australia, Inc
19. Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
20. Hobart Community Legal Service
21. NSW Young Lawyers, The Law Society of New South Wales
22. Pirate Party Australia
23. Institute of Public Affairs
24. Human Rights Law Centre
25. Quessnsland Council for Civil Liberties
26. Castan Centre for Human Rights Law (Monash University)
27. Liberty Victoria
28. Internet Society of Australia
29. Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission
30. NSW Government
31. Huawei Technologies (Australia) Pty Limited
32. Corruption and Crime Commission of Western Australia
33. The Religious Society of Friends
34. Australian Privacy Foundation
35. Australian Federal Police
36. Blueprint for Free Speech
37. Northern Territory Police
38. Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
39. Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Intergrity
40. NSW Council for Civil Liberties
Spot any problems (besides the primary-school spelling and grammar of the tweets)?
That’s right. Nearly all of the organisations listed wrote submissions to the Inquiry opposing the new laws. @op_australia is calling for DDOS (ie, in basic terms, hacking) attacks on organisations that (presumably) support Anonymous’ view.
See the problem with being an informal, non-organised anonymous group of hacktivists is that anyone can don a Guy Fawkes mask and claim to be acting on behalf of the group. And in doing so, many will do more harm than good to the movement.
Much (not all) of the Anonymous manifesto is somewhat admirable: they oppose privacy invasions, censorship, homophobia and exploitation of the vulnerable. They support freedom of expression and Wikileaks and played a visible part in the Occupy movement. They continually attempt to frustrate child abuse sites by crashing their hosts’ servers and those of sites they believe to be supportive of child porn.
But when kiddies from around the world start acting out of ignorance in the Anonymous name, without any understanding of the underpinning values it provides ammunition to the group’s opposition and devalues any good work they do. If there are some influential members of a trusted source of Anonymous, they’d do well to step up and nip this sort of behaviour in the bud.
This could be the dumbest blog I ever wrote. Hope to still be online tomorrow!