On Thursday, a controversial bit of anti-piracy legislation seeking to prevent copyright violations on the Internet was passed by several countries in the European Parliament, moving it one step forward to becoming law.
As the Telegraph reports, there is strong opposition to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), including the hacker collective Anonymous, which polices the world for an uncensored, freely shared Internet. The Telegraph has more on some of the opposition:
The Anonymous group itself says it is now preparing to mount a ‘huge operation’. The European Parliament has also previously voted against ACTA, saying that its negotiation has been undemocratic.
Kader Arif, rapporteur for ACTA in the European Parliament, resigned and wrote that “I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament's demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.”
He said right-wing parties had “depriv[ed] the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens' legitimate demands. I will not take part in this masquerade.”
Anonymous is known for using illegal tactics to hack into private websites and has released private information of individuals and organizations to the public. Most recently in the United States, Anonymous diverted those visiting CBS.com to another website and brought down the U.S. Department of Justice website for several hours.
Some Polish Members of Parliament pulled up Guy Fawkes masks to protest the country's majority support of the legislation. As elected officials, this was poor form. Regardless of their corresponding beliefs with Anonymous against the legislation, they are now seemingly supporting the actions of a group known for illegal hacking activity.
In donning the masks, these parliamentary members are essentially saying -- whether they intended to or not -- that they are affiliated with the hacking group that has taken credit card numbers and recently polled its audience for what who they should maliciously hack next.
Perhaps they don't believe wearing the iconic mask is associated with support for Anonymous' illegal activities but Anonymous sure sees it as a plus. On the YourAnonNews tumblr site, the collective describes the photo as "this is what winning looks like."
After Poland and 21 other members of the European Union signed the legislation on Thursday, opposition broke out -- mostly in Poland. Actions included hackers taking down government websites and individuals moving protests to the streets, the Washington Post reported.
Here is footage of the protests: