Hacking collective Anonymous has released the identities of 1000 KKK members online.
Founded in 1866, controversial white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan (KKK), well-known through history as a group dedicated to bringing back white supremacy in the face of equality laws for blacks and the existence of Jews, has been linked to violence, burnings and marches.
In recent times, the KKK has tried to promote a message based on "love" and "non-violent resolutions," but the group -- already facing a membership slide from millions back in the 1920's to only thousands today existing in splinter groups -- is not likely to feel much love or charity towards Anonymous this week.
Under the moniker #opKKK, Anonymous revealed the impending reveal several days ago and now has released the identities of 1000 alleged KKK members in a data dump online.
Earlier this week, a number of media publications covered the "leak" of a list of KKK members by a lone hacker, some of which were ludicrous in the extreme. The list, later revealed as false, included the names of US officials including Jim Gray, mayor of Lexington, Ky. Gray called the list "false, insulting and ridiculous," and he was far from the only official to deny any involvement with the white supremacy group.
At the time, Anonymous distanced itself from the leak, saying that "we respect the work of our fellow freedom fighters. However, we are unable to confirm, deny or take credit for any work that we did not do," commenting:
The official leak, with several names removed by the collective as dubious, lists data collected over 11 months with the help of obliging KKK members who gave the hackers access to secret groups related to the Klan as well as a compromised Twitter account.
The data dump, hosted by PasteBin, includes links to KKK social media groups, names, Facebook and G+ profiles, locations, personal data including KKK member family connections, aliases and Klan ranks. The identities of a number of Imperial Wizards, the leaders of KKK groups, have also been revealed.
Not everyone on the list is a KKK member as a number of close associates and sympathizers have also been exposed.
ZDNet has not been able to verifiy every identity, but based on some of the social media profiles listed -- where KKK members proudly display their membership -- some at least appear legitimate.
Within the dump, Anonymous said:
"We hope Operation KKK will, in part, spark a bit of constructive dialogue about race, racism, racial terror and freedom of expression, across group lines.
The reality is that racism usually does NOT wear a hood but it does permeate our culture on every level. Part of the reason we have taken the hoods off of these individuals is not because of their identities, but because of what their hoods symbolize to us in our broader society.
We consider this data dump as a form of resistance against the violence and intimidation tactics leveraged against the public by various members of Ku Klux Klan groups throughout history."
Read on: Top picks