Most of the attacks carried out by the hacktivist collective Anonymous target governments or corporations in the name of freedom of information. But an anti-abortion hacker claiming links to Anonymous has been arrested after hacking Britain's largest abortion provider, with the intention of leaking patient information. Will Anonymous condemn him?
On Wednesday, the website of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)—basically British Planned Parenthood—was hacked and defaced with an anti-abortion message and the Anonymous logo. The personal information of 9,000 women who asked for information through the site was stolen in the hack, though no medical information was breached, according to the Associated Press.
"These may have been inquiries relating to contraception, pregnancy, abortion, STI testing and sterilisation," the BPAS said in a statement.
The apparent hacker: A Twitter user named PabloEscobarSec. ("Pablo Escobar" is a reference to a name included in the final hack of the Anonymous spin-off LulzSec.) Last night, PabloEscobarSec tweeted: "British Pregnancy Advisory Service was attacked because they kill unborn children that have no rights. It's murder." He hasn't tweeted since last night, as Scotland Yard announced today that it had arrested the suspect, a 27-year-old man.
It will be interesting to see how Anonymous' public relations arm—the big Twitter accounts like AnonymousIRC and YourAnonNews—deal with this latest politically-motivated hack in their name. It's reprehensible to leak the names and addresses of women seeking medical information, and hopefully Anonymous will strongly condemn the move. (So far, they've been quiet.)
But this would put them in a delicate situation, as it would acknowledge the shady morality of leaking. Anonymous, which recently leaked confidential details of sexual assault victims when it hacked a law firm representing a Marine accused of war crimes, and a million passwords of random Sony customers, hasn't shown much care for bystanders affected by their hacks. Anonymous always returns to the same, unambigous argument: If information is leaked, blame whoever was attacked for having poor security. They were asking for it.
[Image via Getty]