Anonymous has taken up digital arms against pedophiles operating online in their latest campaign, OpPedoChat.
They have also vowed to completely remove all forms of child pornography from the internet, their most ambitious project to date.
“Anonymous aims to diminish if not eradicate this plague from the Internet. For the good of our followers, for the good of mankind, and for our own enjoyment we shall expel from the Internet and systematically destroy any such boards that continue to operate,” said a supposed Anonymous spokesman in a YouTube video.
The amorphous, leaderless collective has been simultaneously decried as cyber-terrorists and heralded as faceless defenders of downtrodden, children. Anonymous has targeted sexual predators in the past, each time improving their somewhat muddied public image.
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Hackers have targeted websites used by pedophiles to exchange photos and video, bringing several of them down through distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks or other weapons in the collective’s cyber arsenal. ZD Net has reported that a total of 85 websites have been taken down with a few of them returning.
As OpPedoChat continues, more websites used by sexual predators are being added to the list. Along with bringing down websites, Anonymous is also doxing, or releasing personal information on the internet, of suspected pedophiles. So far, four rounds of doxing have already occurred, with usernames, passwords, email addresses and IP addresses being released to the public here, here, here and here.
Last October, Anonymous also launched Operation Darknet, bringing down over 40 suspected child pornography websites and doxing over 1500 suspected pedophiles.
While Anonymous may be making an honest attempt to rid the internet of pedophiles, the positive PR the collective will receive as a result is undeniable. So far, press releases have been translated into several languages in an appeal to global Anons to aid in the operation and for internet bystanders to be aware of the collective’s actions.
Continuing to align themselves with the Occupy Wall Street movement, Anonymous has invited all of the so-called "99 percent" to join in the operation.
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“Anonymous calls on the ninety nine percent to contact elected representatives and tell them to stop these disgusting practices by pedophiles. Anonymous calls on the ninety nine percent to contact every reporter and blogger to create political and social pressure on these Pedophile sites,” read their press release on pastebin.com.