As thousands of protesters filled the streets of Phnom Penh for a third day Friday to demand a United Nations investigation into strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen's re-election, individuals within the Anonymous hacker collective remained at their computers to unearth the Southeast Asian government's secrets.
Supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party suspect fraud behind the July re-election of Hun Sen, who has been at the helm of Cambodian government since 1985. They also assert that election officials inflated the number of parliamentary seats due to members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party after the votes were tallied.
OpCambodiaFreedom is on their side.
“All politicians are rats. They’re animals. Our goal is to leak more government data and send a message to our dictators that we are not simply sitting and watching,” one of the hackers involved with OpCambodiaFreedom told GlobalPost.
OpCambodiaFreedom, launched in June, has so far sought to reveal corrupt election practices. In their seminal hack in July, participants in the operation hacked into servers used by the Cambodian National Election Committee (NEC), just 10 days ahead of a nationwide vote. Claiming that the NEC planned to facilitate voter fraud, the hackers, known as Anons, temporarily disabled the website, defaced it and made off with large amounts of data.
The NEC, which has faced frequent accusations of fraud in past years, has promised to look into local complaints, and has admitted some irregularities in the polling process.
But participants in OpCambodiaFreedom are more concerned with systemic problems that plague Cambodian society, including severe poverty, censorship, corruption and government land grabs.