Anonymous takes aim over Europe's SOPA

Hackers are attacking sites and looking to expose information on European officials in response to the signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA critics say it's even worse than the Stop Online Piracy Act floated in the U.S.

Members of Parliament in Poland express their opposition to ACTA by holding paper Guy Fawkes masks in front of their faces. The masks are used by members of Anonymous.
Polish media

Online activists Anonymous are targeting the European Parliament and supporters of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which critics say would curtail freedom of expression and encourage surveillance by service providers. was inaccessible today after Anonymous set its sights on the Web site for its pro-ACTA stance. Meanwhile, hackers were poking at the sites of the European Parliament and governments in the EU, with plans to dig up information on officials that could be released publicly, a source familiar with Anonymous' plans told CNET.

Anonymous has a history of operations against what the group complains are antipiracy efforts that quash rights to freedom of expression on the Internet. The digital activists protested the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which lost steam last week after tech companies demonstrated with a one-day blackout. Following the takedown of popular file-hosting site MegaUpload and its operators, Anonymous launched successful distributed denial of service attacks on the Justice Department, the FBI, Universal Music, the Motion Picture Association of America, and others.

Critics say ACTA is even worse than SOPA in that it allows for closed door negotiations and can't be repealed. The European Parliament is due to vote on ACTA in June.

After 22 European Union member states signed ACTA yesterday, the European Parliament's independent monitor for ACTA, Kader Arif of France, resigned today, saying he was opposed to the lack of transparency on the ACTA negotiations, the fact that the public was not consulted, and other unusual "maneuvers," according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, in Poland, members of Parliament held paper Guy Fawkes masks--the symbol used by Anonymous--in front of their faces to protest ACTA, while Polish citizens demonstrated in the street against ACTA.