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Megaupload Anonymous hacker retaliation, nobody wins


(CBS) - The week began on a high note for Internet activists. The biggest organized effort to blackout websites in solidarity over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) was a huge success.

But, every buzz has its hangover and this one was served up by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, when they took down online file storage site Megaupload Thursday. While the move was shocking on the heels of an Internet love-fest, it wasn't surprising. And, the events that followed exacerbated the issue.

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Hacking group Anonymous retaliated after Megaupload was taken down by launching denial of service attacks on the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA), among others.

CNET executive editor Molly Wood hit the nail on the head when she said, "an attack this big on this many government sites will effectively erase those good Internet vibrations that were rattling around Capitol Hill this week and harden the perspective of legislators and law enforcement who want to believe that the Web community is made up of wild, law-breaking pirates."

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The effort put forth by millions of activists on Wednesday wasn't about promoting piracy. It was about asking Congress to write a better bill to protect intellectual property. Anonymous' latest hacking spree changed the conversation.

Thanks a lot, Anonymous. This is why we can't have nice things.

Wood's sources allege the Megaupload arrests were bait for more nefarious Internet dwellers. And it could not have worked better.

So, what did we get out of Anonymous' latest attack? MPAA chief executive officer Chris Dodd's home address and the take-down of websites that nobody visits - no offense. What a worthy reward for effectively killing the momentum of Wednesday's protests.

On Jan. 18 websites like Wikipedia and Reddit staged a blackout of their sites to protest SOPA and PIPA. Google joined the protest by blacking out their famous logo for a day. A count by the organization Fight for the Future placed the number of sites participating at 115,000. The aftermath of the Internet blackout resulted in countless politicians backpedaling on their support of the bills.

The FBI arrested four people connected to Hong King-based website Megaupload on Jan. 19. The site let users download films, TV shows, games and music for free, making a profit from advertising and subscriptions for faster download speeds.

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