Anonymous has turned its attentions from corporations to pedophiles with the news that the hacktivist group has taken down multiple child pornography sites, including one of the largest known, with account details of its 1589 users being posted online as evidence.
The incident was just part of something Anonymous is calling “Operation Darknet,” a move by the group to eliminate child pornography on the Tor network. Tor, which was originally developed as a way of protecting government communications by the U.S. Navy, now describes itself as “a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet.” But the privacy and anonymity it offers has been abused by child pornographers, something that Anonymous aims to correct with its new campaign.
(MORE: Anonymous – People Who Mattered in 2011)
In its statement about the takedown, Anonymous says that the group “identified [hosting service] Freedom Hosting as the host of the largest collection of child pornography on the internet,” adding “By taking down Freedom Hosting, we are eliminating 40+ child pornography websites, among these is Lolita City, one of the largest child pornography websites to date containing more than 100GB of child pornography. We will continue to not only crash Freedom Hosting’s server, but any other server we find to contain, promote, or support child pornography.”
The group’s statement ends with the following demands:
“Remove all child pornography content from your servers. Refuse to provide hosting services to any website dealing with child pornography. This statement is not just aimed at Freedom Hosting, but everyone on the internet. It does not matter who you are, if we find you to be hosting, promoting, or supporting child pornography, you will become a target.”
(MORE: The 10 Most Dangerous Celebrities on the Internet)
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.