BANGALORE: With a gimmick and a threat to overwhelm government web sites, internet activist group Anonymous is promising to make Saturday a day of protest against stateimposed restrictions on cyber space. Alongside online activism, Anonymous will come out from behind the safety of their computer screens and ‘occupy’ – still anonymous and behind Guy Fawkes masks – known landmarks across 16 Indian cities. To warn against censoring the internet, the group has threatened to bring down government websites on the same day. How big the turnout will be is still unclear, but the Facebook page where mobilisation has been taking place has 6,000 members. Guy Fawkes is famous in English history for the 1605 Gunpowder Plot that sought to blow up Westminster Palace in an act of defiance and revolution. The mask was made famous by the popular 2006 movie, V for Vendetta, and has since then been used in protests worldwide, including in Occupy Wall Street. “We choose the government so that we have our rights and freedom but this lame government is stealing our freedom of speech and expression,” an Anon, or a member of the AnonyHow big the turnout will be is still unclear, but the Facebook page where mobilisation has been taking place has 6,000 members. Guy Fawkes is famous in English history for the 1605 Gunpowder Plot that sought to blow up Westminster Palace in an act of defiance and revolution. The mask was made famous by the popular 2006 movie, V for Vendetta, and has since then been used in protests worldwide, including in Occupy Wall Street. “We choose the government so that we have our rights and freedom but this lame government is stealing our freedom of speech and expression,” an Anon, or a member of the Anonymous, told ETover an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel, an online forum that the group uses for organising and mobilising. Government censorship is a “serious declaration of war from yourself, the Indian government, to us, Anonymous, the people”, Anonymous said in an open letter on Thursday. The peaceful protest, venues for which have been decided, will start with a pre-recorded message that lays out the contours of the movement, followed by rhythmic chanting of the group’s slogan, “We are anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us!” No Confrontation With Police Specific instructions warn protesters to avoid confrontation with police and to not litter streets with banners, after the event is over. Anonymous shot to fame globally a year ago when they brought down the websites of Visa, MasterCard and PayPal for their refusal to allow users to donate to WikiLeaks, an online initiative that seeks to make public, classified information protected by governments and corporations. The group surfaced in India a few weeks ago, when the government asked internet service providers to block file-sharing sites. Anonymous responded by taking down the websites of Supreme Court and the Congress party, and others including that of India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). Typically, this is done through a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack – where a group of users flood the target website with multiple requests simultaneously. Such attacks make the sites temporarily unavailable but do not damage any data. Anonymous considers attacks to be similar to traditional form of non-violent protests, much like a dharna or sit-in and does not think it violates any laws. “We are not causing harm to humans. We are instead helping people by taking down intellectual property of the government,” an Anonymous activist countered. Even if one of them gets caught it is not a danger to the group because members do not even know each others identity, he added. “I think they will ignore us,” a member of the group said. If that happens, then they plan to escalate the attacks to actually damaging the websites. “Erasing their (government’s) websites and nuking – a technical term of damaging the website completely – will be the only option.” Sunil Abraham, director at the Center for Internet and Society, said that that could potentially get Anonymous into trouble with the law. However, another senior executive closely associated with the government cyber security apparatus told ET on condition of anonymity that vigilantes like Anonymous help in putting checks and balances and to bring things to public’s attention.
Anonymous to protest internet censoring in 16 Indian cities, threaten to bring down government websites
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