Cyber activists associated with Anonymous have kicked off a digital campaign to protest U.S. legislation aimed at downing websites suspected of copyright infringement.
Dubbed the Protect IP Act, the rather draconian bill could allow the Federal government to force ISPs and search engines to censor websites under the guise of "copyright protection."
"Through domain seizures, ISP blockades, search engine censorship, and the restriction of funding to websites accused of infringement, this bill promises to take Internet censorship to the next level. Furthermore, it violates the citizens rights to due process, to free speech, to free expression and to legal representation at their hearing," Anonymous explained in a communiqué.
"The Internet is a place where anyone and everyone can come together freely to share information and opinions. The freedom the Internet provides has served as a global aid for tens of millions of people in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Iran, to name a few. All of this has been accomplished largely without interference from corporations, governments, or any other global institutions until now."
According to Anonymous, its latest call to arms is a direct "response" to the recent actions of the U.S. government, the RIAA and MPAA.
"For some time now, powerful interests have been vigorously lobbying the government in a campaign to censor the Internet. The Protect IP Act is the result of [this] campaign. In its present form, this act threatens the very foundation on which the Internet was built: freedom of thought.
"Anonymous are strong supporters of Internet freedom, and believe that the Internet should remain a place where any person, from any country, regardless of religion, race or political persuasion can communicate freely with the world. [However], the PROTECT IP Act would allow government agencies and corporate interests to control what we, the users of the Internet, are permitted to read, by censoring search results on sites such as Google or Yahoo. Do we really want to live in a country where the government determines what we should and should not see?"
Anonymous also warned legislators and the RIA/MPAA that they had captured the group's "full and undivided" attention.
"You seek to control the free flow of Information for your own ulterior motives. You try to impose draconian laws under the guise of 'copyright' while ignoring the basic tenets of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution.
"Anonymous will not let this happen. We will not submit to your intimidation and bullying and stand prepared to take all necessary measures to halt your agenda of internet censorship... You have declared war on the Internet, a war that you cannot win, against an entity you do not understand."