mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
[personal profile] mellowtigger
I would normally tell you that hacking a website is childish behavior akin to vandalizing a wall with spray paint.  This time, though, it looks a lot more "interesting" and purposeful than that.

Anonymous claims that it has collected damning government secrets and is threatening to reveal them.  The data file is encrypted and is currently available for download by everyone.  They will reveal the decryption key later unless the government reforms its sentencing guidelines for violations of terms of service.  Essentially, they're demanding that contract law be kept separate from criminal law, establishing some minimal barrier between democracy and plutocracy.  Otherwise, they will "detonate" their information bomb by releasing the key so everyone can read the information that they collected.

They are acting now because of the recent death of Aaron Swartz.  Today, they published their actions on the webpage of the United States Sentencing Commission (currently not responding).  Anonymous explains their actions in video and in their original announcement text on the website.  They chose to deface that government site for its symbolic value as the source of "federal sentencing guidelines which enable prosecutors to cheat citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial, by a jury of their peers -- the federal sentencing guidelines which are in clear violation of the 8th amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishments."

People can follow webpage links to download the pieces of the file that Anonymous has encrypted.  Anonymous will periodically contact media outlets and reveal partial contents to them for publication, as proof of the value in this encrypted file.  They have enough information for multiple files, and this "warhead" file is merely the first to be launched.  Although the original announcement at USSC.gov is not viewable at the moment, copies can be found elsewhere.  Follow those links for urls to the 9 file pieces (each piece named after a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court), or take the simpler route by downloading the torrent file.  Currently, I find copies of the announcement at these addresses:
Among the instructions linked above you can find a unix command that will assemble the file pieces into the whole encrypted file.  WARNING: DO NOT enter those commands exactly as written, or you will delete the contents of your hard drive.  Either learn some unix commands first, or ask someone you trust to explain the commands to you.  (Basically, you just drop the "rm" command from the end, but you really should know what you're doing before entering any instructions into your computer.  The pieces should be assembled in this order: Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan. )

"You can't stop the signal."
- Mr. Universe, Serenity

Stay tuned, as we all wait to learn what activity the government has been hiding from us.

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