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In defense of LGBT rights, Anonymous adopts "scorched earth policy" for Ugandan online infrastructure

More Ugandan government sites have fallen under cyber attack by LGBT rights advocates within the Anonymous collective in protest of the country's anti-homosexuality bill.
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A woman mourns at the funeral of murdered activist David Kato near Mataba, on January 28, 2011. Although the police claims it was most likely a petty crime, targeting Kato's money, many members of the gay and the human rights community hold the Ugandan government responsible for not battling the growing resentments against homosexuals in the Ugandan society. Homosexuality is illegal in many African countries and is punishable by a prison sentence. (Marc Hofer/AFP/Getty Images)

LGBT rights advocates within the hacker collectives Anonymous and GreySecurity (Gsec) have continued their campaign against Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill as government sites and .ug domains have fallen victim to further online attacks.

The websites belonging to the Ugandan Petroleum Exploration and Production Department of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and the Department of Agriculture came under attack by Anonymous on Sunday night, and the attacks have not abated. 

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development’s website was defaced with the Anonymous logo and a message from the collective. 

“Citizens and government of Uganda, take heed, Anonymous is calling,” read the message. 

“If nobody else will take action and the government of Uganda refuses to see reason, Anonymous will adopt a scorched earth policy towards Uganda's network infrastructure. You should expect us, for we do not forgive and we will not forget.”


French students take Twitter to court over anti-Semitic tweets

French Students have sued Twitter, arguing in a Parisian court on Tuesday that the micro-blogging website must divulge the personal information of users tweeting anti-Semitic messages.
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The 'Twitter' logo is seen on a tablet screen on December 4, 2012 in Paris. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

France’s largest Jewish student union is taking Twitter to court, demanding that the micro-blogging website divulge the personal information of French users posting anti-Semitic messages.

The French Union of Jewish Students argues that Twitter is providing a platform for hate speech by allowing anonymous users to post anti-Semitic tweets. An initial hearing in the case was held on Tuesday in Paris, with the court expected to make a ruling as early as Jan. 25.

"Today, the internet has become a forum of racist speech. People are free to say what they want with impunity and we need to stop that," Jonathan Hayou, of the student union, told Al-Jazeera.

Last October, the Twitter hashtag “#unbonjuif” (#agoodjew) began circulating as part of anti-Semetic statements like “#agoodjew is a dead Jew.” According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the hashtag became the third most popular in France. 


Head of piracy ring receives longest-ever prison term for file sharing

The head of the film piracy group IMAGiNE was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday — the longest sentence ever handed to a convicted file sharer.
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A computer screen of Dirk Engling, spokesperson of the Chaos Computer Club, shows the file name (highlighted) of the Trojan spyware allegedly made by the German authorities in the CCC's offices in Berlin on October 12 , 2011. The computer club and German hacker organization claims to have cracked spying software allegedly used by German authorities. The Trojan horse has functions which go way beyond those allowed by German law. The news has sparked a wave of outrage among politicians and media commentators. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

Jeramiah Perkins, head of theatrical audio piracy ring IMAGiNE, has been sentenced to five years in prison, the longest sentence ever handed to a convicted file sharer in the US.

Perkins, 40, and his co-defendants pled guilty to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement earlier this year following their arrests in 2011.

On Thursday, Perkins was sentenced as the leader of the in-theater recording — or “cam” — ring, which the prosecution argued was the world’s most prolific piracy release group between 2009 and 2011, according to Wired.

"The conspirators informally identified themselves as the IMAGiNE Group and sought, among other things, to be the premier group to first release to the Internet copies of new motion pictures only showing in movie theaters," read the indictmentof Perkins and his co-defendents.

"It was further a part of the conspiracy to use computer software to digitally refine and to edit the video and audio portions of a motion picture and to combine or synchronize the two components into audiovisual movie files," the indictment also stated. 


Standing against anti-homosexuality bill, hackers launch fresh attacks against Uganda

Anonymous has launched the second phase of OpUganda, an effort to pressure Uganda's government in protest of the country's anti-homosexuality legislation.
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A screengrab of the Ugandan Legal Society's webpage defaced by Anonymous as part of OpUganda (Screengrab/Screengrab)

Anonymous and GreySecurity (Gsec) have launched the second phase of OpUganda, a campaign designed to bring pressure on the Ugandan press and government in protest of the country’s anti-homosexuality legislation.

While there is no clear ideology or set of beliefs espoused by the amorphous and multifaceted hacker collective, some factions within Anonymous have taken a keen interest in the case of Uganda’s discriminatory legislation against LGBT people.

“HOMOSEXUALITY IS A FREEDOM. It is a choice every man or woman has. It is NOT something to be governed. It is NOT a sin. It is freedom,” read an OpUganda press release issued by the collective on Wednesday.

Several private sector websites in Uganda — including the Ugandan Legal Society, and television station NTV Uganda — have become the latest targets in the operation. The Ugandan Legal Society’s website remains defaced by Anonymous, while usernames, passwords and emails from NTV Uganda and have been dumped in several posts on 

And the operation doesn't stop there. As more private sector Ugandan websites are being hacked, hackers have pledged to attack major Ugandan government websites, as well.

"We are currently planning attacks for January we can confirm that 4 Ugandan government sites are top priority,” said Twitter account AnonTitan, which is closely linked with OpUganda. 


Report: Apple begins testing iPhone6, iOS7

Traces of what appears to be the iPhone6 and iOS7 originating from the Apple headquarters have begun appearing in app developers logs.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple product launch event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 7, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the launch of the new iPad 3, but forgot to tell anyone that they made some big changes to the App store as well. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Apple has begun testing another new version of the iPhone and the latest iteration of their iOS operating system, according to The Next Web.

iPhone application developers have reported finding traces of a new iPhone in their app usage logs. While the current iPhone5 uses the identifiers “iPhone5,1” and “iPhone5,2,” the identifier spotted by developers was “iPhone6,1,” leading them to believe that a new iPhone was being tested, according to The Next Web.

Usage logs track which devices and which operating systems are using the apps; the IP addresses used by each device are logged as well.

According to certain app developers, the IP addresses used by the devices originated from Apple's Cupertino headquarters, wrote The Next Web's Matt Brian.


Hired by the Westboro Baptist Church, web security provider to donate revenue raised to charity

Finding a compromise with Anonymous, web security firm Black Lotus will donate all revenue raised from the Westboro Baptist Church to charity while maintaining services for the controversial fundamentalist group.
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Betty Phelps, daughter-in-law of pastor Fred Phelps and a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrates outside the Supreme Court while justices hear oral arguements in Snyder v. Phelps, which tests the limits of the First Amendment, October 6, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images)
Black Lotus, a web security and distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) attack protection firm hired by the Westboro Baptist Church, will now donate all revenue raised from the controversial church group to charity.

ACTA suffers final blow as EC abandons court referral

With the European Commission's referral of ACTA to the European Court of Justice, activists feared an ACTA revival. Now, their fears are assuaged.
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Demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes masks take part in a protest against Poland's government plans to signan international copyright agreement ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), which faces strong opposition from Internet activists, in front of the European Union office in Warsaw on 24 January, 2012. AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) suffered its final European defeat today as the European Commission dropped its case with the European Court of Justice to review the treaty, rendering the controversial legislation unable to be presented before the EU again.

Last July, European netizens rejoiced as ACTA was uniformly rejected by members of the European Parliament amid mass protests against the legislation across the entire continent. Some estimates placed the number of people taking part in anti-ACTA street protests across Europe at 2.5 million. 

After its defeat in parliament, ACTA was referred to the European Court of Justice for further review of its legality. 

In spite of its legislative defeat, many European activists saw the referral to the courts as a stall tactic, allowing for ACTA to come up for a vote again at a later date presumably after protesters had left the streets and political pressure had lessened. 


Did StarCraft turn Adam Lanza into a killer?

Adam Lanza played StarCraft, a popular video game closer to chess than Call of Duty.
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Gaming enthusiasts play Starcraft at the Gamescom 2012 gaming trade fair on August 16, 2012 in Cologne, Germany. Gamescom is Europe's largest gaming expo with 600 international developers exhibiting their latest products. Around 250,000 visitors are expected to attend the four-day event being held between August 15-19. (Juergen Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images)
Adam Lanza played StarCraft, a popular video game closer to chess than Call of Duty.

Several nations refuse to sign new ITU treaty

With the US and UK leading the charge against internet regulation, several nations express reservations over the new ITRs while some refused to sign them outright.
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Terry Kramer, US ambassador to the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 (WCIT), speaks August 1, 2012 at the Information Technology Council in Washington, DC. Kramer spoke before the first group proposals were submitted by the US to the WCIT. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States, along with a host of other nations, has refused to sign the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR) put together by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at the World Conference on International Communications (WCIT) in Dubai this week.

Nations with major reservations over the ITR or outright refusals to sign include the UK, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt, Sweden, the Netherlands, Kenya, the Czech Republic, Canada, New Zealand and Poland. 

“The US has consistently believed that the ITR should be a high level document and that the scope of the treat doesn't extend to internet governance or dominance,” said US ITU Ambassador Terry Kramer to reporters in a conference call Thursday evening. 

“No single organization or government can or should attempt to control the internet or dictate its future development,” added Ambassador Kramer. 


Muslim hacker group launches further attacks against US banks

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters have launched the second phase of their operation against US banks in protest of the "Innocence of Muslims" video's presence on YouTube.
Alqassam fighters 12 13 2012Enlarge
Indian Muslim protesters burn an effigy of Alan Roberts, the alleged director of an anti-Islam video, during a protest against the film in Kolkata on October 5, 2012. The low-budget, US-produced 'Innocence of Muslims' movie has incited a wave of bloody anti-American violence in Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and in several other countries across the Muslim world. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

The  Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters have launched the second phase of their “Ababil” operation, in which the Muslim hacker collective has pledged to carry out attacks against major US banks, according to the group’s post on Pastebin.

Al-Qassam has pledged that this second phase of their operation will include an increased number of attacks, specifically against US Bancorp, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, PNC Financial Services Group and SunTrust Bank.

It could be said the group has become a single-issue hacker collective: the goals of the organization are now limited to removing "Innocence of Muslims" from YouTube. The insults made against the Prophet Mohammed served as a catalyst for uniting the collective.

“As we said earlier, the implementing of these attacks is because of widespread and organized offends to Islamic spirituals and holy issues, especially the great Prophet Mohammad(PBUH) and if this offended film is going to be eliminated from the internet, the belonging attacks, also will be stopped,” the group's posting on Pastebin read. 

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