4chan Users Leak List of 5,000 Alleged Internet Porn Fans

Earlier this month, pranksters from 4chan's /b/ board launched an attack on anti-pirating forces like the Motion Picture Association of America. One side-effect: a list of over 5,000 alleged Internet porn pirates was leaked on the Internet.

In addition to the MPAA and the RIAA, a major target of "Operation: Payback Is a Bitch," as the campaign is called, has been British law firm ACS:Law. ACS is notorious for using questionable bullying tactics against suspected pirates, according to Forbes' Kashmir Hill.

One of ACS' favorite tactics is sending out letters to broadband customers suspected of pirating media and demanding they pay a fine or face a lawsuit. These letters are pretty effective, especially in the case of alleged porn pirates who, guilty or not, would probably rather settle the issue quietly than see a case go to court over whether they illegally downloaded "Bareback Britain."

As such, the firm keeps records on people they suspect of illegally downloading porn from torrent sites. It appears that in the process of bringing down ACS' website via a distributed denial-of-service attack, 4chan users also gained access to their servers and download thousands of internal emails and documents—files which the BBC reports include "the full names and addresses of over 5,300 people thought by [ACS] to be illegally sharing adult films." The 365 MB worth of documents were quickly uploaded to The Pirate Bay, where anyone can download them and see what hapless British people are being accused of downloading hardcore porn from torrent sites.

If "Operation: Payback's" only goal is to cause a headache for anti-pirating forces, they've succeeded. ACS:Law could face a £500,000 fine under British information security law. And "Payback" is reportedly responsible for taking down nearly 8,000 piracy-related sites in Australia alone.

But according to its official mission statement, the anonymous horde behind "Payback" has loftier goals:

Anonymous is tired of corporate interests controlling the internet and silencing the people's rights to spread information, but more importantly, the right to SHARE with one another.

The RIAA and the MPAA feign to aid the artists and their cause; yet they do no such thing. In their eyes is not hope, only dollar signs. Anonymous will not stand this any longer.

Exposing ACS' shady tactics is great! But leaking the names of people suspected of pirating porn—exposing them to embarrassment whether or not they're guilty—actually supports an argument against unfettered free speech on the Internet. Especially if one considers how deeply familiar 4chan users appear to be with the intricacies of pirating porn.

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