Anonymous hacks U.S. sites to protest treaty

Protesters wearing Guy Fawks masks hold the logos of the international hacker group Anonymous during a demonstration against Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Budapest, Hungary, Feb. 11, 2012. AP Photo/MTI

LONDON - 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.

Anonymous said in a statement posted to the Internet that it had attacked websites for the Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection business center and the National Consumer Protection Week.

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."

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Earlier Friday, the sites had been replaced with a violent German-language video satirizing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA.

The treaty aims to halt intellectual property theft — such as illegal film downloads — but many activists fear its provisions could be used to prosecute trivial acts such as remixing music or making online video montages.

The hackers' video underlined the latter point, showing a home computer user being shot to death by alleged ACTA enforcers for emailing a photograph to his mother.

In its statement, Anonymous also boasted of stealing a significant amount of personal data from Trade Commission employees — including everything from banking statements to dating website information. That claim could not immediately be confirmed.

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