'Anonymous' hackers to protest Indian Internet laws

Global hacking movement Anonymous has called for protesters to take to the streets in 16 cities around India on Saturday over what it considers growing government censorship of the Internet.

The call for demonstrations by the Indian arm of the group follows a March 29 court order issued in the southern city of Chennai demanding 15 Indian Internet providers block access to file-sharing websites such as Pirate Bay.

The order has resulted in access being denied to a host of websites that carry pirated films and music among other legal content, including www.isohunt.com and www.pastebin.com.

On Wednesday, the Anonymous forum fired an opening shot by attacking the website of state-run telecom provider MTNL, pasting the logo of the group -- the mask of 17th century revolutionary Guy Fawkes -- on www.mtnl.net.in.

In an open letter the same day, the group accused the government of trying to create a "Great Indian Firewall" to establish control on the web and issuing a "declaration of war from yourself... to us."

Internet users and supporters have been asked to join peaceful rallies in cities including the capital New Delhi and the tech hub of Bangalore, with detailed instructions issued online to participants.

Tech website www.pluggd.in reported the demonstrators have been asked to wear Guy Fawkes' masks, download a recorded message to play to police, and are to chant "United as one! Divided as zero! We are Anonymous! We are legion!"

Concerns about Internet freedom in India go beyond the court order in Chennai, however, and stem from an update to India's Information Technology Act that was given by the IT and communications ministry in April last year.

The new rules regulating Internet companies -- providers, websites and search engines -- instruct them that they must remove "disparaging" or "blasphemous" content within 36 hours if they receive a complaint by an "affected person".

Groups such as the Center for Internet and Society, a Bangalore-based research and advocacy group, have waged a year-long campaign for amendments to the rules, which were quietly released in April.

Industry groups have also objected, saying they are unclear on the changes which are in any case impossible to implement when it comes to acting on individual complaints about specific content.

"A lot of education is required in this field," secretary of the Internet Service Providers Association of India S.P. Jairath told AFP.

The government has also become embroiled in a row with social networks after Telecoms Minister Kapil Sibal held a series of meetings with IT giants Google, Yahoo! and Facebook last year to discuss the pre-screening of content.

The minister was said to have shown Internet executives examples of obscene images found online that risked offending Muslims or defamed politicians, including his boss, the head of the ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi.

Since these meetings, 19 Internet firms including Google, Yahoo! and Facebook have been targeted in criminal and civil cases lodged in lower courts, holding them responsible for content posted by users of their platforms.

Anonymous is a secretive "hacker-activist" network and is thought to be a loosely knit collective with no clearly defined leadership structure.

It has claimed dozens of online attacks on sites ranging from the Vatican to Los Angeles Police Canine Association, but is increasingly the target of law enforcement agencies who have arrested dozens of members.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippine, Vietnam troops play sports on disputed island
    Philippine, Vietnam troops play sports on disputed island

    Filipino and Vietnamese troops played football and tug-of-war on a disputed South China Sea island on Wednesday, officials said, closing ranks as their rival China ramps up construction of artificial islands. The games took place on Philippine-held Northeast Cay, just 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles) from Southwest Cay which is controlled by Vietnam, where a similar contest was held last year. "It was a navy-to-navy confidence-building engagement," Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez, the Philippine …

  • ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’
    ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’

    While strong earthquakes cause tsunamis in coastal areas, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned that inland areas could also be exposed to tsunami-like waves, or seiche, if located near or around bodies of water. In a recent earthquake awareness seminar in Muntinlupa, Phivolcs supervising science research specialist Joan Salcedo explained that a seiche is a large wave similar to a tsunami, triggered by strong ground shaking from an earthquake or volcanic …

  • China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations
    China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations

    China gave the Philippines a “gentle reminder” last Tuesday that Beijing will not bully small countries but warned these nations not to make trouble willfully and endlessly. “Here is a gentle reminder to the Philippines: China will not bully small countries, meanwhile, small countries shall not make trouble willfully and endlessly. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said that China would continue to build other civilian facilities on relevant maritime features in the disputed Spratly Islands …

  • Back-channel diplomacy pushed for Phl-China dispute
    Back-channel diplomacy pushed for Phl-China dispute

    The Philippines should consider backchannel diplomacy to prevent its territorial dispute with China from deteriorating further, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said yesterday. There are a lot of Filipino businessmen with businesses in China and they have friends and connections there. Let’s utilize that, ask them to talk to their friends on how we can resolve this matter peacefully,” Marcos said. …

  • Phl, Japan to deepen ties amid China sea claims
    Phl, Japan to deepen ties amid China sea claims

    Japan and the Philippines are set to bolster security ties when President Benigno Aquino visits Tokyo next week, the latest move by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to beef up cooperation with Southeast Asian nations facing China’s growing naval ambitions. The two sides will likely agree to start talks on a framework for the transfer of defense equipment and technology and to discuss a possible pact on the status of Japanese military personnel visiting the Philippines to facilitate joint training and …

  • Phl, Vietnam troops play soccer on disputed isle
    Phl, Vietnam troops play soccer on disputed isle

    Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island yesterday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region will allow it to project power deep into …

  • Noy swears in 50 newly appointed AFP officers
    Noy swears in 50 newly appointed AFP officers

    President Aquino administered yesterday the oath taking of 50 newly appointed generals and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a simple ceremony at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace. …

  • Taiwan’s peace call on claimants of disputed territories welcomed
    Taiwan’s peace call on claimants of disputed territories welcomed

    The US on Tuesday welcomed Taiwan’s call on all claimants to disputed shoals, reefs, rocks and islets in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea to exercise restraint, refrain from unilateral actions that could escalate tensions, as well as to respect international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. “With regard to the maritime claims and the claims to sovereignty over land features in the South China Sea, our position is that maritime claims must …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options