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Anonymous Attacks Polish Websites For ACTA Support

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Street protests and online hacking has hit Poland over its support for the controversial ACTA copyright agreement

Government websites have been attacked and street protests are taking place in Poland, over that country’s support for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

Over the weekend, most of Poland’s governmental websites were taken offline in DDoS attacks thought to have been carried out by hacktivist group Anonymous, after Poland announced on 19 January, that it would sign the ACTA treaty on 26 January.

ACTA Controversy

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is an international standard on intellectual property rights enforcement. It is a far reaching deal that covers measures designed to stem the digital distribution of copyright-protected content, as well policies to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods such as fake designer handbags.

In November MEPs voted in favour of ACTA, paving the way to its final adoption. ACTA has been criticised for the secretive way in which the text was negotiated, with publication of drafts beginning only near the end of the process.

In Poland the wave of street protests and online cyber attacks in the country, which took down a significant number of government sites over the weekend, according to Pastebin where Anonymous appeared to take the credit.

According to F-Secure a Twitter account called @AnonymousWiki called for action against the Polish government. F-Secure also posted a screenshot of one the hacked and then defaced Polish government websites, premier.gov.pl.

F-Secure also reported that the hackers claimed to have the admin passwords to that website.

Street Protests

Meanwhile hundreds of anti-ACTA protesters took to the streets of Warsaw to protest in front of the European Parliament office in that city.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk reportedly insisted that his government would not give in to the protesters and would sign up to ACTA. “There will be no concessions to brutal blackmail,” Tusk reportedly said at a news conference, according to the Associated Press.

Countries that have already signed up to ACTA include the USA, Australia, Canada, Jordan, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates. Some European countries like Ireland are also expected to sign up to ACTA within the next week or so.

The anti-ACTA protests comes hot on the heels of anti SOPA protests, as well as Anonymous attacks against US government websites due to the FBI’s takedown of Megaupload.