Anonymous adds ‘Protect IP’ bill as ‘Operation Payback’ target

Anonymous’ far-reaching “Operation Payback” has previously wreaked havoc on HBGary,the MPAA and even KISS frontman Gene Simmons. The retaliatory strike against anyone and everyone who speaks out against piracy would continue until the group “stopped being angry,” it declared. With U.S. legislators now debating the Protect IP bill (.pdf), that day won’t dawn any time soon.

Anonymous released a three-pronged statement at its AnonNews site on Monday addressing web denizens, the media at large and government officials and industry members supporting the bill – each section of which discussed different facets of the group’s stand against Protect IP.

Ultimately, the hacker collective believes Protect IP, if passed, will serve as a means for the U.S. government to censor sites rather than strictly enforce anti-piracy laws:

This bill would allow the US Government to force ISPs and search engines to censor websites they do not like under the guise of “copyright protection”. Instead of reducing piracy, this bill endangers the free flow of information. Through domain seizures, ISP blockades, search engine censorship, and the restriction of funding to websites accused of infringement, this bill promises to take Internet censorship to the next level. Furthermore, it violates the citizens’ rights to due process, to free speech, to free expression and to legal representation at their hearing.

Protect IP has also come under scrutiny from far more legitimate sources. Some previous concerns against Protect IP’s forebear COICA (which never made it to a vote) originated within Congress itself, and others from those on the outskirts of the debate. A major point of contention for most critics is the bill’s loose language, which many believe could potentially be applied to search engines such as Google and Bing for their inadvertent role in helping pirates pirate.

Taking the bill’s proposal to go after “information location tools” one step further, and sites dedicated to reporting news about hacking and piracy (such as this one) could theoretically be shut down as well.

Though Anonymous doesn’t exactly come right out and say what they plan on doing to combat the proposed legislation, the poster created to spread the word about fighting Protect IP mentions downloading the LOIC – the group’s weapon of choice in previous DDoS attacks – as “Step 1.”

We can only guess then what “Step 7) Profit!” implies.