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Anonymous swoop on Mexico govt. sites in copyright law protest

Published time: January 28, 2012 11:33
Edited time: March 07, 2012 12:26
(AFP Photo / Javier Soriano)

(AFP Photo / Javier Soriano)

Online hacktivist group Anonymous has blocked access to Mexican Senate and Interior Ministry websites. The attack is a protest against a proposed law that will see those who violate copyright online fined one million pesos (over $100,000).

The proposal, from conservative senator Federico Doring, is widely seen as the Mexican version of the SOPA/ PIPA bills, denounced by Wikipedia and other web giants, as well as by the internet community at large, as a threat to internet freedom.

Google, YouTube, Yahoo, AOL and many others have likened the bills to China-style censorship. The deals were supposedly created to protect copyrighted material, but most believe they would cripple the internet, effectively killing all websites allowing user-uploaded content, endangering potential whistleblowers and severely damaging online freedom of speech.

The controversial bills have been shelved indefinitely by the US Congress after the wave of protests and blacking out of popular websites such as Wikipedia, to get the point across.

Despite the victory of internet users in the SOPA/PIPA case, however, other battles rage on. Another controversial treaty – ACTA, an international agreement aimed at protecting intellectual property – sparked mass protests in Poland after its signing by the country.

Anonymous has already targeted official websites in the countries that have signed ACTA. They struck the Polish, French and Czech government websites, as well as the sites of the Irish ministries of justice and finance, the European Parliament, Ireland’s Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The proposed Mexican law is the new target for Anonymous, who seem ready to tackle any organization or government on the planet that threatens internet freedom and free speech. Anonymous claimed responsibility for the attacks on Mexican websites on their Spanish Twitter account Friday.

Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire told a news conference that the ministry's site had been blocked late morning. It lasted for a little less than five minutes, the site was not compromised and officials were investigating, Poire said.

Doring said in his Twitter feed that Anonymous have the right to show they are against his proposal, but do not have the right to attack websites. He also insisted that the proposal "does not contemplate any criminal punishment" and would not sanction users of social networks because they do not make a profit.

This is not the first time the elusive internet collective is operating on Mexican online turf. Last October, Anonymous threatened to publish information on drug cartels in the country, with the main focus on Los Zetas (one of the most powerful and violent drug cartels) and those, who have been collaborating with the cartels, such as police officers and taxi drivers.

Anonymous posted an online message to Los Zetas drug lord Heriberto Lazcano, reminding him of the futility of trying to fight them, as the "global spirit of this struggle cannot be shot at, or burned with acid."

Over 47,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2006 at the hands of the cartels.

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