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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Anonymous claims retaliation for copyright laws

Website attacks prompt probe

AFP-Jiji, Jiji, Kyodo

Japan probed attacks on government websites Wednesday apparently after the hacker collective Anonymous lashed out at beefed-up laws against downloading copyrighted works, and warned of more to come.

A site purporting to speak for the group said newly enacted laws that could mean jail for anyone downloading copyrighted music and movies "will result in scores of unnecessary prison sentences to numerous innocent citizens."

The Finance Ministry's website came under attack Tuesday, with a number of Web pages defaced, ministry official Takanari Horino said.

Supreme Court and intellectual property high court websites were also down for a short time overnight, he said.

"We are investigating where the illegal item came from," the official said, referring to an unauthorized link posted to the ministry site.

"We are aware of the Anonymous statement referring to the new copyright law, but we don't know at this point if the cyber-attacks are linked to the group," he said.

According to the top court, its Web pages providing information about courts across Japan became totally inaccessible for at least 50 minutes through around 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the website for workers at the Kasumigaura River office of the land ministry's Kanto Regional Development Bureau was suspended after it was found to have been defaced, according to the National Information Security Center.

The anonpr.net website said laws passed by both houses of the Diet last week would do "little to solve the underlying problem of legitimate copyright infringement."

"The content industry is now pushing ISPs in Japan to implement surveillance technology that will spy on . . . every single Internet user in Japan," it said.

"This would be an unprecedented approach and severely reduce the amount of privacy law-abiding citizens should have in a free society."

The statement also warned the government and country's Recording Industry Association to "expect us the same way we have come to expect you in violating our basic rights to privacy and to an open Internet."

A Wednesday morning post on Twitter by user @op_japan claiming to speak for Anonymous said: "Good morning #japan. Expect more from us today! #anonymous #opjapan #anonfamily #freeanons."

Another post reads: "dpj.or.jp its your turn now," apparently referring to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's ruling party.

A DPJ official said it was difficult to connect to the party's server for a short period of time early Wednesday but there have not been any more serious problems. The Liberal Democratic Party website has also reported difficulties in its website Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association said on Wednesday no attacks on its website had been recorded, but it was investigating.

The new copyright law stipulates that "downloading of copyrighted works knowing that they are not free and that it is illegal" will lead to a prison sentence of up to two years, or a fine of up to ¥2 million, or both.

Some 4.36 billion files, including music and movies, were illegally downloaded in 2010, 10 times the number of legally downloaded music files, the association said.

Anonymous is a "hacker-activist" network that has claimed online attacks on sites ranging from the Vatican to the Los Angeles Police Canine Association, but is increasingly the target of police who have arrested dozens of members.

"There have been no reports of computer virus infections or information leakages at this stage," Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a Wednesday morning press conference.

"The Cabinet Secretariat told government agencies yesterday to look out for possible cyberattacks and take prompt action if attacked, following the Anonymous statement," Fujimura said. "To protect against cyberattacks is a key element of crisis management."

Last June, Spanish police arrested three Anonymous members on charges of hacking into Sony Corp.'s PlayStation Network.

In February, the group attacked the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's website and made it inaccessible for several hours.



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