Anonymous Hacks Japanese Government Websites in Protest of Anti-Piracy Laws

The hacker group threatens more attacks after defacing the finance ministry site and shutting down others.

TOKYO - Hacker activist group Anonymous has attacked Japanese government websites, and is threatening further action in protest at new stiffer penalties for illegal downloading that were passed in a copyright law amendment last week.

The finance ministry’s website was hacked on Tuesday, with messages opposing the stricter copyright laws posted on a number of its pages. The sites of the Supreme Court of Japan and the Intellectual Property High Court were also reported down overnight, while access to the sites of the two main political parties was said to be restricted.

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"Greetings land of the rising sun, we are Anonymous" opened a message to Japan on the group's website.

"Earlier this week Japan approved an amendment to its copyright law which will give authorities the right to imprison citizens for up to two years simply for downloading copyrighted material…If this situation alone wasn’t horrible enough already, the content industry is now pushing ISPs in Japan to implement surveillance technology that will spy on and every single internet user in Japan," continued the message.

The new copyright amendments introduce penalties for illegal downloaders of up two years in prison and two million yen ($25,000) fines. Previously only uploaders of copyrighted music and video files were liable for punishment.

"To the government of Japan and the Recording Industry Association of Japan, you can now expect us the same way we have come to expect you in violating our basic rights to privacy and to an open internet," concluded the message from Anonymous.