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Anonymous readies fresh attacks against Uganda over anti-homosexuality bill

Members of the Ugandan Parliament have pledged to pass their anti-homosexuality bill before the end of the year. Anonymous is attempting to stop them.
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Ugandan police officers stay at the entrance of the Esella Country Hotel after police raided a gay rights workshop which was taking place in the hotel, in Kampala, on June 18, 2012. East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, the organisation behind the workshop, said that police forced their way into some activists' hotel rooms and interrupted the meeting, questioning participants at the event, including activists from Canada, Kenya and Rwanda. Activists condemned the police action and said it represented a growing trend. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and can be punished by lengthy prison sentences. Since 2009 a controversial bill has been before parliament that would impose the death penalty for certain homosexual acts. (Michele Sibiloni/AFP/Getty Images)

Anonymous is preparing for its second round of cyber-attacks against the Government of Uganda protesting the country’s anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) legislation that would punish those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” with life imprisonment.

Last November, a provision in the bill that allowed the death penalty against those convicted was removed. 

However, Ugandan Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has pledged to pass the law by the end of the year as a “Christmas gift” to the bill’s advocates. 

Some factions within the Anonymous hacker collective have taken a keen interest in the case of Uganda’s discriminatory legislation against LGBTs for a host of complicated reasons. 

As press coverage of Uganda’s anti-LGBT attitudes gained more global visibility, the provocative gay-bashing headlines in the media attracted the gaze of the internet. Given the headlines’ outlandish use of derogatory phrases, many sectors of the internet, including Anonymous, found them to be humorous.

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ITU website falls under cyber attack

As the meeting of the International Telecommunications Union entered its fourth day, hackers launched a cyber attack against their website, bringing it down for a matter of hours.
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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. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

A meeting of the International Telecommunications Union at the World Conference on International Communications in Dubai was attacked by hackers, causing the conference to suffer a network outage to one of its websites on Wednesday preventing delegates from accessing online documents that were being considered by the meeting.

While the debate among world governments over changes to the treaty regulating the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) takes place behind closed doors, online activists are terrified of a UN internet takeover.

It remains unclear who was behind the attacks. Anonymous, for one, has launched Operation WCIT and has pledged to carry out cyber-attacks against the organization in protest of internet regulation. 

opWCIT twitter account tweeted, “And it’s down,” yesterday, linking an image of an error message on the ITU’s website. 

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ITU debate centers on complicated legal definitions, not UN internet takeover

Web freedom advocates are crying foul over what is believed to be a UN takeover of the internet at a meeting of the International Telecommunications Union in Dubai. What is actually happening, however, is more of the same UN-style debates over treaties and legal definitions.
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Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), speaks during a press conference at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai, on December 3, 2012, during the final event of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). The conference will review the current International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), which serve as the binding global treaty outlining the principles which govern the way international voice, data and video traffic is handled, and which lay the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth. (Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

While the debate among world governments over changes to the treaty regulating the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) takes place behind closed doors, online activists are terrified that international organizations or national governments could seize control over the internet.

However, what is actually occurring at the ITU’s meeting in Dubai may be much less nefarious than many speculate. In fact, the debates center mostly on the precise language and legal implications of certain definitions — within a treaty governing an organization that was founded over 150 years ago.

“I’m not surprised that we’ve ended up with this narrative about a UN takeover of the internet,” said Ellery Biddle, a policy analyst with the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit public policy organization advocating internet freedom. 

“It’s very hard to communicate about this issue because it isn’t just one law under consideration; it’s a whole host of proposals that cover net neutrality and security,” added Biddle. 

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Can the ITU really contain the internet?

As the UN conference for internet oversight continues, web freedom advocates are preparing for another fight against regulation. Can international organizations ever hope to regulate the internet?
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Activists protest during a demonstration against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on February 25, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. ACTA is a proposed treaty attempting to establish an international governing body with legal standards intended to protect intellectual property and prevent the production and sale of counterfeit goods. The German government has delayed a decision on the agreement, citing concerns by the Justice Ministry, and according to news reports is waiting for approval by the European Parliament prior to signing the multinational treaty. (Adam Berry/AFP/Getty Images)

As the International Telecommunication Union enters its third day of meetings to discuss internet regulatory plans in Dubai, web activists, hacker collectives and online freedom advocates are gearing up for another fight against internet regulation and censorship.

It’s another battle in the war for an open internet – a war that the forces of anti-regulation seem to be winning.

The ITU is facing staunch opposition to proposed regulatory measures as tech giants like Google’s Vint Cerf have come out against the proposals. If recent history is any indication, attempts to regulate the internet, by and large, fail. 

On local, national and international levels, internet users around the world have not only displayed a willingness to take to the streets to protest internet censorship but have demonstrated an ability to simply bypass any regulations or restrictions already put into place. 

On the national level, China censors citizens’ internet access more heavily than almost any other country on the globe. Using what is called the “Great Firewall of China”, the People’s Republic boasts the most technologically advanced online censorship technology in the world. 

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Video games become modern art masterpieces

The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan is making a few new acquisitions: video games.
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Visitors try out a Playstation 3 video game at the Sony stand at the IFA consumer electronics trade fair on August 29, 2008 in Berlin, Germany. IFA opened its doors to the public today and will be open through September 3. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan has announced the acquisition of 14 different video games as part of its permanent collection, giving gamers more ammunition in the argument that video games have artistic value.

“Are video games art? They sure are, but they are also design, and a design approach is what we chose for this new foray into this universe,” wrote senior curator Paola Antonelli. 

“As with all other design objects in MoMA’s collection, from posters to chairs to cars to fonts, curators seek a combination of historical and cultural relevance, aesthetic expression, functional and structural soundness, innovative approaches to technology and behavior, and a successful synthesis of materials and techniques in achieving the goal set by the initial program,” Antonelli said about the selection criteria for the games included in the collection. 

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Congressman pushes for two year ban on internet regulation

Proposing a two year moratorium on all legislation regulating the internet, Rep. Darrell Issa has taken to the internet for support. Internet nor sure if troll.
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House Oversight And Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa questions members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during a hearing December 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. In October the four commissioners sent a letter White House Chief of Staff William Daley expressing 'grave concerns' that NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko's deficiencies as a leader could compromise nuclear safety. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images)

Following several failed attempts by the US Congress to govern the internet, one representative is looking to ban all attempts at internet regulation for a period of two years.

Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, authored and released the Internet American Moratorium Act 2012 on Monday to a crowdsourcing platform known as Project Madison. Project Madison’s platform attempts to incorporate citizens into the law making process and enables them to amend portions of the draft language. 

“It is resolved in the House of Representatives and Senate that they shall not pass any new legislation for a period of 2 years from the date of enactment of this Act that would require individuals or corporations engaged in activities on the Internet to meet additional requirements or activities. After 90 days of passage of this Act no Department or Agency of the United States shall publish new rules or regulations, or finalize or otherwise enforce or give lawful effect to draft rules or regulations affecting the Internet until a period of at least 2 years from the enactment of this legislation has elapsed,” reads the bill.

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"Hackers" face prison in Turkey's first ever trial of suspected cyber criminals

Several members of a Turkish Marxist hacker collective are standing trial in Ankara today, charged with terrorism.
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A tag used by RedHack to deface websites to which the organization has gained access. (Screengrab/Screengrab)

Several members of a Turkish Marxist hacker collective are standing trial in Ankara today on charges of terrorism in the country’s first ever prosecution of alleged cyber criminals.

Those on trial face up to 24 years in prison.

The Turkish hacker collective, RedHack, claimed responsibility for bringing down the website belonging to the central Turkish police earlier this year. After the attack, Turkish authorities made several arrests of individuals suspected of taking part in the strike.

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Israel faces an online cataclysm as global hackers converge on .il domains

Israel's Gaza offensive has angered the infamous hacker collective Anonymous. But that's not all. Pro-Palestinian hackers from around the world are on the case.
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One of the several websites hacked by LANMIN3 - a pro-Palestinian web activist seemingly based in Algeria. (Screengrab/Screengrab)
The conflict in Gaza is serving as a virtual coming out party for hackers all over the world. Hundreds of Israeli .il domains have come under fire. Sites for weddings, auto parts sales, modeling portfolios, the IDF and Israeli government have all experienced distributed denial of service attacks, defacement and deletion.
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Anonymous wreaks havoc on Israel's websites

In one of the most devastating cyber-attacks in recent memory, the hacker collective Anonymous has wreaked havoc on Israel’s online infrastructure, bringing down websites belonging to several federal and municipal government agencies.
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(YouTube)

In one of the most devastating cyber-attacks in recent memory, the hacker collective Anonymous has wreaked havoc on Israel’s online infrastructure, bringing down websites belonging to several federal and municipal government agencies.

While death tolls continue to rise in Gaza, factions within the Anonymous hacker collective, in solidarity with Palestinians, began lashing out against Israeli websites Thursday night.

“Israel, all your base are belong to us,” tweeted YourAnonNews, using internet speak to denote total domination.

The collective has claimed that it brought down 600 Israeli sites since Operation Israel began. Hitting several .il domains, the collective also brought down several pro-Israel sites like unitedwithisrael.org, a global movement in support of Israel.

“Yes, over 9,000 websites are down or defaced right now for #OpIsrael. RT @Shaved_Llama: @YourAnonNews ITS OVER 9000!” tweeted the account YourAnonNews using the internet euphemism “over 9000” to denote a large number, not literally 9000. 

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Anonymous, in solidarity with Gazans, hits Israel

While death tolls continue to rise in Gaza, factions within the Anonymous hacker collective have lashed out against Israeli websites in solidarity with Palestinians late last night.
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At screenshot of http://falcon-s.co.il/, an IDF blog defaced by Anonymous late last night. (Screengrab/Screengrab)

While death tolls continue to rise in Gaza, factions within the Anonymous hacker collective have lashed out against Israeli websites in solidarity with Palestinians late last night.

Beginning at 3 A.M. EST, hackers associated with the Anonymous collective began a relatively large-scale DDoS attack against web sites belonging to the Israeli Defense Forces, the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli websites belonging to security and financial corporations. 

“#OpIsrael 40+ Israel'i government & military websites have been taken down in last 3hrs #FreeGaza #Anonymous #FreePalestine V @AnonNewsINT,” said Twitter account @AnonymousPress, an account very closely associated with the collective. 

According to the @AnonymousPress twitter account, the collective is working to ensure that internet access in Gaza is not suspended. 

“To the people of Gaza and the "Occupied Territories", know that Anonymous stands with you in this fight. We will do everything in our power to hinder the evil forces of the IDF arrayed against you. We will use all our resources to make certain you stay connected to the Internet and remain able to transmit your experiences to the world,” said the collective in a press release, translated in several languages including Arabic. 

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