Hacker group Anonymous has urged non-US citizens to take action against the US's proposed anti-piracy bills, which is sparking dissent in the blogosphere.
With a statement posted on Pastebin, the collective has called on all citizens around the world to sign online petitions on the US government's website opposing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). For non-US citizens, the hacktivists have suggested supporters illegally create a fake name and a random address in order to game the system and sign the petition.
Other important measures include spreading the word about the bill, finding and lobbying local Representatives, boycotting companies that support SOPA and takinng to the streets to protest against the bill.
"Stop Online Piracy Act(SOPA) is a bill that would create America's first Internet censorship system," reads the statement. "In a nutshell, it's like the censorship in China, Iran"
If passed, SOPA would allow copyright holders to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling copyright infringement, reports the Huffington Post. The offending sites could then be dropped by advertisers, removed from search engine results and barred from using payment processing networks.
Opponents say SOPA could do significant damage to websites that rely on user-uploaded content like YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook and community news-sharing site Reddit.
Anonymous has also called for a day of action against SOPA and the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) on February 3 with a YouTube video. According to the collective, the new sections of the act grant "unlimited powers to the executive branch of the government to indefinitely detain suspects, even American citizens, without trial".
With Operation Blackout, the hacktivists have pledged for the first time to take to the streets and protest actively against the US government. "This is where we draw the line. This is when we leave our computers. This is when we take out our masks and defy the corrupt rule of law. This is when we revolt. The time has come for you to accept the truth and join us in overthrowing yet another corrupt military regime," reads the statement.
"On February 3rd the collective is calling upon the citizens of the United States to protest against new sections in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that were passed a short while ago."
Reddit announced that it will shut down normal operations for 12 hours on January 18. Anonymous IRC has announced it would go silent the same date to show solidarity with other groups protesting the bill.
Wikipedia founder James Wales has floated the idea of the online encyclopaedia's blackout similar to that one used in the past against the Italian privacy law.