Anonymous Hackers Challenge U.S. Government With Occupy and OpBlackOut 'Protests'
Image Credit: Anonymous

The hacker cell of Anonymous has issued a new call-to-arms against the U.S. government's "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA), asking all Anons and Occupiers to join its OpBlackOut "protest."

Though announced several weeks ago, OpBlackOut is an active attempt by the collective to voice its disapproval of the U.S. government's SOPA act. Officially designed to combat online piracy, numerous groups have voiced concern about the new powers the act could grant U.S. law enforcement.

A recurring theme in the concerns is the suggestion that the act will allow police to arrest, fine and potentially jail individuals for seemingly minor offences, such as uploading a copyrighted video onto YouTube.

"The goal of the so-called 'Stop Online Piracy Act' SOPA is to empower litigious U.S. corporations to police the internet, with the ability to act as judge, jury and executioner. SOPA tramples civil rights laws, fair use, freedom of press and freedom of speech," read Anonymous' statement.

Continuing: "Under SOPA an average person could be arrested, fined, sued and spend time in a federal prison for so little as uploading a video to YouTube or even linking to one. This law further proves the reality of corporate rule and totalitarianism."

The new claims of corruption arose after the SOPA vote was delayed until early 2012. In its statement Anonymous members claimed that the delay was simply a stall tactic designed to give "corporate lobbyists" time to secure more votes, ensuring the act will pass.

"Recently the vote on SOPA was delayed until early 2012 due to dissenting influence and the backlash of the immense number of core internet services that this bill targets," read the collective's statement.

"In a democracy this should be enough to defeat the bill, however, in the U.S. it only means that the vote will get delayed until the media loses interest and the backing corporate lobbyists have enough time to "influence" [read: bribe] the vote to their favour."

Though the collective has already taken action, publishing the the names and decisions of U.S. Congressman participating in the vote on Pastebin, the operation now promises to target two new fronts.

The first "primary" assault will see all "Anons, Dissidents, Hacktivists, Activists, Subversives, Occupiers, Culture Jammers and the 99%" embark on a cyber-vandalism campaign replacing an as yet unknown number of site's front-pages with a " simple, clear protest page." While the second will: "Bring OpBlackOut in to physical space," seeing non-hacker members of the collective carry out a real world graffiti spree.

"Take over signs and billboards, tag, stencil, chalk, sticker, flier, protest, etc. - fill public space with our message, image and presence. Coordinate information with Occupiers. Publicly post. Get people talking. Put the truth not only where it can be seen, but where it cannot be avoided," read Anonymous' call-to-arms.

The collective is yet to publicise any successful acts of vandalism, cyber or real-world. Below is the OpBlackOut video Anonymous originally issued back in November.