HACKTIVIST GROUP Anonymous has issued a warning to US lawmakers and media content rights holders over the introduction of the Protect IP Act.
The group, which is widely believed to have been responsible for the initial round of attacks on Sony's networks, issued a press release condeming the Protect IP Act and calling on internet users to fight for their online freedom.
The Protect IP Act gives US authorities a number of new powers, such as the legal rights to seize domain names, block web sites at the ISP level, censor search engines and freeze assets.
A number of web site domains have already been seized over charges of copyright infringement as part of the "Operation In Our Sites", but this is likely to increase now that the Protect IP Act has been passed. If a web site cannot be taken offline, as many are hosted outside the US, then the new powers allow US authorities to force ISPs to block access to the web sites in question, an approach that has been called "draconian" by supporters of free speech.
Anonymous said that people must protect the freedom of the internet, highlighting the recent events in Egypt, Tunisia and Iran as examples of how the internet can serve as a powerful force against oppression. Some of those regimes attempted to censor the internet to curb dissent, only to be ultimately toppled. The last thing US authorities should want is to be compared with them.
The group said that the US government is using copyright protection as a disguise for censorship of web sites it does not like, and that instead of reducing so-called 'piracy' it will endanger the free flow of information.
Anonymous then directed its attention to the lawmakers and the RIAA and MPAA, saying that these agencies have declared war on the internet, ignoring the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution. It said it is a war that they cannot win and called for these organisation to cease their attempts at censorship, or else "face the wrath of the Hivemind".
If Anonymous was responsible for Sony's recent troubles, then perhaps lawmakers and the media copyright cartels should not take this threat too lightly. µ
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