Anonymous Snatches US Census Bureau Employee Data
In apparent response to controversial trade agreements being negotiated by the Obama Administration, Anonymous has moderately doxxed some 4,200 US Census Bureau employees nationwide. Much of the data was innocuous or otherwise publicly available, in that it most likely could not be used to blackmail or steal the identities of the employees who were exposed.
A representative of the Census Bureau told the Register:
The US Census Bureau is investigating an IT security incident relating to unauthorized access to non-confidential information on an external system that is not part of the Census Bureau internal network. Access to the external system has been restricted while our IT forensics team investigates.
Security and data stewardship are integral to the Census Bureau mission. We will remain vigilant in continuing to take every necessary precaution to protect all information.
Hacktivism: Hacking with a Cause
Anonymous seeks to bring light to the trade agreements presently being negotiated by the United States and others in less-than-transparent manner, such that documents relating to the trade agreements have been leaked.
The trade agreements are controversial in part because of the way they are being negotiated, but also because of their implications on the rights of citizens in member countries. Several members of Obama’s party have yet to throw their weight behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership while at the same time the Senate recently passed the Trade Promotion Authority, which essentially amounts to enabling the executive branch to negotiate independent of the people. The TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) will perform many of the same functions with Europe as the TPP does with Asia.
So where does Anonymous come into all of this? As far as has been leaked, much of this legislation has to do with limiting Internet freedoms, draconian measures to protect intellectual property (DRM), and more. The contents of the agreements has been kept secret for ten years now, and it is important to note that the negotiations were begun long before Barack Obama ran for president.
Citizens worldwide have expressed concern for these cornerstone agreements and the secretive negotiations which are developing them, while at the same time the agreements are by design not static. Over time, things can change with them.
For many Americans, the passage of the last big trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement, spelled the end of their employment due to the way the agreement prohibits penalties for job exportation. At the time, the narrative of the executive branch was that American companies would be able to compete and would thrive as a result, but for the everyday person things have been since the beginning of the century.
Anonymous continues to remain relevant in a political and technological sense, taking risks where many will not even ask questions. Tactically speaking, by hacking the US Census Office and telling the world it was in response to the trade agreements, Anonymous is bringing attention to the agreements because they are aware that the media likes to sensationalize anything they do.
Featured image from Shutterstock.