US sites hacked as objections grow to piracy deal

Feb 17, 2012 By RAPHAEL SATTER and VANESSA GERA , Associated Press

(AP) -- Opponents of a controversial global copyright treaty counted three victories Friday as American government websites were hacked and the Eastern European nations of Poland and Slovenia distanced themselves from the deal.

Sites belonging to the U.S. and the National Consumer Protection Week were vandalized by Anonymous, a loose collection of cyber rebels who have helped lead the charge against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA.

The hackers replaced the sites with profanity-laced statements and a violent German-language video satirizing the treaty.

At the same time, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Friday the country was abandoning plans to ratify the deal. He said he now sees his earlier support for ACTA as a mistake. "I was wrong," he said at a news conference.

His announcement came after Slovenia's government also said Friday that it is halting the ratification of ACTA.

"This agreement is obviously not a matter of understanding, but of major misunderstanding," Slovenian Education Minister Radovan Zerjav said.

The developments are bad news for such as the United States, which have pushed ACTA as a way of defending the entertainment industry and luxury goods manufacturers from pirates and . American officials spent years negotiating ACTA in an effort to harmonize across different countries.

The goal is to help countries fight everything from fake pharmaceuticals to pirated music, but grass-roots activists - many of them in Eastern Europe - have been waging weeks of protests against what they see as moves intended to clamp down on free expression and .

So far around 20 countries have signed up to the deal, a key step before ratification. Four have now backed away from it - Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic - and its approval at the European Union level appears increasingly uncertain.

Tusk also said Friday that he sent a letter to the European People's Party, a center-right group in the European Parliament to which his Civic Platform belongs, urging it not to back ACTA in its current form.

Back in the United States, the Trade Commission confirmed that the sites had been compromised, saying in an email that they had been taken down and wouldn't be brought back "until we're satisfied that any vulnerability has been addressed."

Anonymous boasted of stealing a large amount of personal data from Trade Commission employees - including everything from banking statements to dating website information.

The Trade Commission said that while it was still investigating the hack, "the nature of the site limits information that could have been accessed."

Explore further: Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

More US govt websites hacked by Anonymous

Feb 17, 2012

(AP) -- Cyber rebels from Anonymous announced Friday the group has carried out a new series of attacks against U.S. government websites to protest a global copyright treaty.

Poland freezes anti-piracy pact ratification

Feb 03, 2012

Poland's prime minister said Friday that Warsaw would put on ice plans to ratify a controversial international online anti-piracy accord after massive off-and-online protests in his country.

Czech Republic, Slovakia freeze anti-piracy pact

Feb 06, 2012

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said Monday his country would freeze plans to ratify a controversial international online anti-piracy accord after mounting off-and-online protests.

Germany freezes signing of disputed Internet pact

Feb 10, 2012

Germany on Friday halted the signing of a controversial international accord billed as a way to beat online piracy that has sparked angry protests, saying it needed more time to consider it.

Recommended for you

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

15 hours ago

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

Aug 23, 2014

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

Aug 22, 2014

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

Aug 22, 2014

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

Aug 22, 2014

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kochevnik
5 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2012
We know what it's like to live under fascism.