Anonymous and Wikileaks are no longer BFFs after paywall dispute

Anonymous_logo_270x236.jpegHacktivist group Anonymous has always stood firmly by Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange and even launched distributed denial of service attacks on the credit card companies that pulled the plug on the secret information organisation back in 2010 and went on to attack the Swedish Prosecutors office too.

However, it now seems like the beautiful friendship has come to an end after Wikileaks introduced a paywall to its Global Intelligence Files and a number of other pages and documents.

If you’re in the know when it comes to certain paywalls and “complete this survey plz” pop-ups you’ll be aware that you can fairly easily get round them by disabling Javascript in your browser settings. But it seems Anonymous doesn’t care that the donations page can be circumvented and instead is insulted by the principle behind it. In a press release published on Pastebin, a representative of the group writes:

“We have been worried about the direction Wikileaks is going for sometime now. In the past year the focus has moved away from actual leaks and the fight for freedom of information and concentrated more and more on Julian Assange and a rabid scrounging for money.

“When this “paywall” appeared last night, there was a brief and intense exchange online between Anonymous and WikiLeaks. Within two hours all of the “paywalls” were removed. At that point Anonymous was willing to let this pass, for the sake of peace in the over all movement.

“But now tonight, as if taunting us to rage – the “paywalls” reappeared not just on sections of the site but for every single file. Enough! We have numerous disclosure platforms of our own, and in the future we will deliver Anonymous related leaks via these platforms.”

Although the press release is pretty damming of the donations page, the group insists it won’t be attacking any of Wikileaks’ online properties, it just won’t be supporting it anymore:

“We will NOT attack the web assets of WikiLeaks, as they are media. We do not attack media. Any future attack on the WikiLeaks servers attributed to Anonymous is a lie. But what we will do is cease from this day all support of any kind for WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. No longer will Anonymous risk prison to defend WikiLeaks or Julian Assange from their enemies. No longer will Anonymous risk prison to supply material for WikiLeaks disclosures. Anonymous turns it’s back on WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks has with it’s actions this past 48 hours betrayed Anonymous, and thus has lost it’s biggest and most powerful supporter.”

It seems that some of the files in question can’t be accessed without coming up against a donations page, but others have been removed and documents can be read without handing over any of your cash to the organisation. It’ll be interesting to see whether Wikileaks does get rid of the paywall, respond to Anonymous or continue on regardless.

[Via Cnet and Pastebin]
Becca Caddy