The collective group that goes by the name “Anonymous,” a group known for hacking and attacks on government and corporate websites in the name of activism, is claiming that they were responsible for the breach of the Finance Ministry’s network and website on Tuesday. The claims were made on one of Anonymous’ associated Twitter feeds, @op_japan, and said the attacks were a response the Japanese government’s new laws that would result in prison time for those who illegally download copyrighted content.
On Monday, Anonymous posted to their website that these new laws would affect numerous innocent people and result in many unnecessary prison sentences. The attacks did not involve the theft of any secure information, but instead a link and additional content was added to Ministry of Finance page that contained public records about national properties. The websites for the Ministry of Finance, as well as the Supreme Court and Japan’s two main political parties, the DPJ and LDP, were quickly taken offline, but are now back up. Takanari Horino, a ministry official, has stated that the government is aware of the Anonymous group’s claims, but are still investigating if they are connected to the attacks.
The new laws, passed last week, against illegal downloading can lead to fines of as much as 2 million yen (approx. $25,000), up to two years in prison, or even both. Anonymous stated on their website that these acts would do little to solve the problem of legitimate copyright infringement, and that it will lead to the surveillance of internet users and a lack of privacy for citizens in a free society.