Hackers Wage War Against Child Pornography
"Our demands are simple. Remove all child pornography content from your servers. Refuse to provide hosting services to any website dealing with child pornography. This statement is not just aimed at Freedom Hosting, but everyone on the Internet. It does not matter who you are, if we find you to be hosting, promoting, or supporting child pornography, you will become a target..."
With that statement, activist group Anonymous has declared war on child pornography. The 'hacktivist' group is well known for attacking Amazon, PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and the Swiss bank PostFinance, in retaliation for its perceived withdrawal of support for Wikileaks.
After targeting big corporations and government websites in past months, they have shifted their focus from "political to moral" hacking activities, and now have set its sights on child porn websites.
They have claimed that they have taken down websites that they have found to be involved in pedophilia. They have also posted online the names and data of some 1,500 alleged pedophiles using the sites.
Anonymous have also said that it will soon target companies hosting, promoting or supporting child pornography.
One of these firms is Freedom Hosting. The group have stated that the company is the host of the largest collection of child pornography on the Internet.
They have already infiltrated the company's server and has shut down its services for one day. Although Freedom Hosting has restored its services, the group have vowed not to relent on its objective.
"We will continue to not only crash Freedom Hosting's server, but any other server we find to contain, promote, or support child pornography... for this, Freedom Hosting has been declared #OpDarknet Enemy Number One..." the group has said.
According to the hacktivists, taking down Freedom Hosting has eliminated more than 40 child pornography websites, including Lolita City, one of the largest child pornography websites containing more than 100GB of child pornography.
With hackers such as Anonymous taking a stand against moral issues such as this, public perception on its tactics may soften and even be condoned. But what happens when they target a cause that may have serious repercussions on society? Will the public still support them?
With computer hacking becoming more complex and dangerous, its best to hope that groups like Anonymous look at the moral implications of its actions and balance it with their cause.
With their latest foray, it seems that they might be on the right track.