Hacker Group Anonymous Attacks Mexican Government Websites
Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior Alejandro Poiré revealed that his department’s website was forced offline for about 2 hours on Friday by a denial of service attack (DOS) launched by the hacker group Anonymous but insists the group was unable to breach the site’s defenses and access internal data. The website of Mexico’s senate was also attacked.
Anonymous explained via Twitter that the attack was a protest against Mexico’s version of SOPA, the controversial U.S. anti-piracy legislation that critics feel would lead to censorship and ultimately government control of the Internet.
The “Döring Law” being sponsored by PAN senator Federico Döring Casar would allow Mexico’s Institute of Industrial Property to take action against individual internet users without obtaining a court order. To enforce such a law, a national database that monitors and records the activity of Internet users would almost certainly be required.
Döring, however, claimed in a recent interview with Mexico’s Reforma newspaper that his law is not at all like SOPA claiming “it’s a lie. My proposal doesn’t have anything to do with SOPA. [SOPA] takes down websites, my proposal doesn’t. SOPA puts people in jail, my law doesn’t. SOPA cancels email accounts; I’m opposed to that.” He added that his law “is not designed for users that in good faith download something, but rather those that do it on a large scale.”
Others feel that, although the law and its punishments may be less strict than its U.S. counterpart, it would have a severally damaging effect on freedom of expression – a hot button issue given that Mexico’s full translation to democracy occurred only a little more than a decade ago and given its more recent problem with the intimidation of journalists by drug cartels. In as much, freedom of expression in Mexico increasingly requires anonymous expression.
Any law that could put in place the tools to monitor and identify Internet users could also presumably facilitate the use of such such information for purposes for which it was not intended – something that could have a chilling effect on civil discourse in Mexico.
Given that Mexico produces relatively little intellectual property of the kind SOPA seeks to protect, Anonymous it seems certainly has something to protest about.