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Hackers take down Polish government websites in ACTA attack

Hackers from the ‘Polish Underground’ movement attack government websites, prompting an emergency cabinet meeting.

The homepage of the Polish premier Donald Tusk, which was taken down by hackers opposing Poland's adoption of ACTA.
The homepage of the Polish premier Donald Tusk, which was taken down by hackers opposing Poland's adoption of ACTA.

THE POLISH GOVERNMENT is to meet this afternoon to discuss its position on an new international anti-counterfeiting agreement, after a number of government websites were taken down in co-ordinated attacks.

The attacks – from Anonymous and a group called ‘Poland Underground’ – took down a number of websites, including those of the government and the parliament, in protest at Poland’s planned adoption of the ACTA deal.

ACTA – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – is a proposed deal which aims to tackle “the increase in global trade of coutnerfeit goods and pirated copyright protection works”.

Its scope includes the sharing of copyrighted material on the internet – prompting some fears that it could infringe upon digital privacy and result in actions similar to the proposed SOPA legislation currently making its way through the US congress.

The AP reports that Poland was due to sign up to the deal on Thursday, but may not now do so after the websites were attacked – apparently in frustration at how the Polish government had not consulted with the public before doing so.

The website of the prime minister Donald Tusk was replaced with a banner reading, ‘Hacked by the Polish Underground: Stop ACTA’, while Anonymous claimed responsibility for downing the websites of the police force, the government protection bureau, the finance ministry, the defence ministry and the parliament.

The Polish government had originally blamed the outage of its sites on heavy traffic, but later acknowledged that Tusk’s website had been defaced. They had pledged to have the websites back online by this evening.

Anonymous says it has now called a ‘ceasefire’ depending on the outcome of the cabinet discussions, but claims that it has “leaked documentations on many Poland officials” which it will release if ACTA is formally adopted.

Polskie Radio reports that the Polish version of Wikipedia was considering a blackout, similar to that adopted by English Wikipedia in protest at SOPA last week, in protest at the planned adoption of ACTA.

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Gavan Reilly

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