Hackers shut down Australian government Web sites to protest compulsory Internet filter

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hackers disrupt Australian government Web sites

SYDNEY — Hackers have shut down several Australian government Web sites as a protest against a proposed Internet filter that targets pornography and criminal sites.

The Web site for the Australian Parliament House was down for almost an hour and the Department of Communications site also experienced difficulties, the Attorney-General’s Department said in a statement.

It said Wednesday’s denial-of-service attack, which flooded the sites with bogus traffic so legitimate visitors couldn’t get through, was launched by a group calling itself only “Anonymous.” The attack mirrored one in November, also attributed to Anonymous.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that Anonymous issued a statement saying that the attack was intended to protest the proposed filter, particularly its blocking of certain pornography sites.

“More importantly, Anonymous does not approve of the steps already undertaken by the Australian Government to control what their populous sees,” said the statement quoted by ABC.

The federal government plans to introduce a mandatory Internet filtering system by early 2011 that aims to block material such as child pornography, bestiality, rape and other sexual violence, along with detailed instructions about committing crimes or using illicit drugs.

The system would make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among the world’s democracies.

Critics say the filter would not prevent determined users from sharing such content, and it could lead to unwarranted censorship by overzealous officials.

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