A representative for the group claiming to be responsible for attacks on government websites to protest the Federal Government's planned internet filter, has said that they were a more affective way of voicing displeasure than "signing a petition".
The group, which calls itself Anonymous, this week knocked the website of the Australian Parliament offline in a distributed denial-of-service attack that also targeted the website of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
Government workers were also sent a flood of email with porn enclosed, prank phone calls and dodgy faxes, in an initiative dubbed "Operation Titstorm".
"Maybe some people think the attacks are juvenile but it makes more of a message than signing a petition as the attacks can not be ignored," the individual claiming to be a spokesperson for the group said in an email interview.
They added they did not feel the attack would completely stop the filter initiative from being cancelled. "However, even if they make the blacklist public I personally will be happy, but there are other people that will not be happy until it is completely destroyed," the spokesperson said.
They said the aim of the attack was to make governments everywhere aware that they "cannot mess with the internet and not have a backlash".
In this week's attack, the individual estimated that there were about 100 people actively participating in the protest, but because of the way Anonymous is organised, it was impossible to tell. Last night, they said, there were at least 480 people in an associated chat room discussing the attack. The parliament house website was still down this morning.
Despite their sentiments about petitions, the spokesperson said the best thing the broader Australian public could do to protest against the filter was to sign the petition of Electronic Frontiers Australia and tell government officials that they disagreed with the policy.
It's not the first time Anonymous has attacked government websites; in September last year, the group, which has achieved notoriety for its attacks against the Church of Scientology, temporarily took down several Australian government websites, including the website of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
In response to a question about whether that prior action had had any legal consequences, the spokesperson said the group had not had any reports of legal action, but as every member of Anonymous was an individual, the group had no formal membership and anyone could take part in the protest action, so news of legal action against individuals did not always spread.
Note: Delimiter does not have any specific knowledge of the identity of individual members of Anonymous. The contact was made by emailing the firstname.lastname@example.org email address listed on Anonymous' press release earlier this week and received a reply from an individual claiming to be a spokesperson. There are obvious journalistic difficulties with verifying the spokesperson's identity; however, we believe them to be affiliated with Anonymous.
The spokesperson stressed they personally had not taken part in attacking government websites and was just acting as a spokesperson for Anonymous.