Over the past couple of weeks , rogue freedom-fighting organization Anonymous has been ramping up efforts to convey a message to the Tunisian government expressing that their censorship of the country’s internet access and oppression of citizens will not be tolerated.
In the middle of this week, those efforts culminated into a DDoS strike on at least five Tunisian government websites by over 9000 online Anonymous supporters. At the same time, protests in the nation’s streets turned violent as bloggers and activists were detained by authorities.
Unfortunately, the Tunisian government is not backing down, but is instead trying to strengthen their efforts to silence the nation’s citizens.
“The authorities appear to have turned to even more repressive tactics to silence reporting. In the case of Internet bloggers, this includes what seems a remarkably invasive and technically sophisticated plan to steal passwords from the country’s own citizens, in order to spy on private communications and squelch online speech,” said Danny O’Brien, in a blog for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“When Tunisians hit the Facebook ‘login’ button, this extra code takes their user names and passwords, scrambles them, and then calls for another Web page, with the scrambled data included in the new Web address it requests,” O’Brien added. “Tunisians don’t see this new page, but their browser still attempts to load it, sending their private credentials across the Net.”
As the tension in the country escalates, Anonymous is campaigning for even more support to reinforce their efforts, and the United States government is beginning to grow worried about the increasing political strife.
“We’re certainly watching what’s happening in both Tunisia and Algeria with a great deal of interest,” a senior State Department official told reporters. “(We) expressed our concern about both what is happening with regard to the demonstrations and expressed and encouraged the Tunisian government to ensure that civil liberties are respected, including the freedom to peacefully assemble.”
It’s rather ironic that a government who allows entertainment industry trade groups to shut down whatever websites they please, even in other countries, is talking about respecting civil liberties and freedoms. They may actually want to decide to show some concern and take steps to preserve their own citizens’ rights so that the situation does not end up spiraling out of control someday, as it has in Tunisia.