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By | John Leyden 24th January 2012 14:33

Hacktivists hammer Polish govt for backing ACTA

Support for SOPA's big brother sparks hackers' wrath

Hacktivists at Anonymous have turned their ire at least partially away from SOPA in the US and towards governments pushing its bigger brother, ACTA.

The majority of Polish government websites were taken offline over the weekend as the result of a DDoS attack in protest against ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA long predates SOPA and covers a set of arguably even more controversial anti-copyright agreements.

ACTA aims to become an international standard on intellectual property rights enforcement. Negotiations for the treaty have been going on behind closed doors since 2008. Hacker hate figures including the RIAA, the MPAA, the International Intellectual Property Alliance and Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America have been involved in drafting the agreement.

The hitlist of attacked government sites is on Pastebin here. Some of sites were defaced with an embedded video of a parody of Poland's last Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski's announcement of martial law on December, 1981.

Hackers claimed that the password and login to premier.gov.pl's admin panel were admin and admin1 respectively, F-Secure reports.

The websites wandered in Anonymous's sights after the Polish government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced it will sign the agreement later this week. More background on the attack and its political context can be found in a blog post by Trend Micro's Rik Ferguson here.

A primer on ACTA can be found in a FAQ from the Electronic Frontier Foundation here; the EFF is particularly concerned about the the trade treaty's potential to erode civil liberties, curb innovation and bring in web filtering by ISPs.

Other countries planning to sign up to ACTA this week include Ireland, Silicon Republic reports. The agreement covers measures designed to stem the digital distribution of copyright-protected content as well as policies designed to prevent the sale of knock-off counterfeit goods. ®

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