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Anonymous Hackers attacked Japanese Govt. sites in Protest of Anti-Piracy Laws

The international hackers collective Anonymous has launched a series of cyber-attacks against Japanese government websites in protest at new stiffer penalties for illegal downloading that were passed in a copyright law amendment last week.

According to The Japan Times, the law was approved by the Education, Culture and Science Committee of the House of Councilors with 221 votes in favor.

After October 1, when the law goes into effect, users who download copyrighted content or copy DVDs may receive a fine of up to ¥2 million ($250,000 or 200,000 EUR) and can even be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison.

Many fear that the way the bill is worded leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which could lead to a lot of unfair prosecutions.

In response to the news, Anonymous has released a statement that announces the start of an operation against the Japanese government.

“Earlier this week Japan approved an amendment to its copyright law which will give authorities the right to imprison citizens for up to two years simply for downloading copyrighted material,” Anonymous wrote.

“We at Anonymous believe strongly that this will result in scores of unnecessary prison sentences to numerous innocent citizens while doing little to solve the underlying problem of legitimate copyright infringement,” the hacktivists added.

“If this situation alone wasn’t horrible enough already, the content industry is now pushing ISPs in Japan to implement surveillance technology that will spy on and every single internet user in Japan. This would be an unprecedented approach and severely reduce the amount of privacy law abiding citizens should have in a free society.”

They concluded by launching a threat against the government and organizations that represent rights holders.

“To the government of Japan and the Recording Industry Association of Japan, you can now expect us the same way we have come to expect you in violating our basic rights to privacy and to an open internet.”

After the operation was announced, The finance ministry’s website was hacked with messages opposing the stricter copyright laws posted on a number of its pages. The sites of the Supreme Court of Japan and the Intellectual Property High Court were also reported down overnight, while access to the sites of the two main political parties was said to be restricted.
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