Anonymous just declared the start of #OpNYT — but have no fear, your favorite newspaper of record isn't going offline anytime soon.
The loosely affiliated collective of hackers is really, really mad at The New York Times, but doesn't intend to deface or take down its site — at least for the moment.
In a press release posted to Pastebin, Anonymous charges that The Times has been remiss in its lack of coverage of TrapWire, a company that advertises itself as a "must-have application" for law enforcement to monitor the likes of Occupy Wall Street, PBS, Crimethinc and Citizen Radio.
For that, as Betabeat puts it, they've put The Times on notice. They're calling on their ranks — not for a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack — but to spread the news that, to The Times, TrapWire isn't news.
"We will simply extend the bounds of sanity to the extent possible by spreading these and other failures of the New York Times by attaching the info to those deeds to come, and by encouraging all Anons to assist in this brief engagement," the hackers wrote.
Anonymous pointed to the fact that TrapWire has been handled as a major privacy concern by other news outlets but that it has been largely ignored or downplayed by The Times.
"The New York Times put on the story some yahoo who declared fears to be 'wildly exaggerated' in part because two unnamed, titleless [sic] sources at the Department of Homeland Security told them they tried it and didn't like it," Anonymous said.
TrapWire has been purported by some to be the real-life version of Big Brother: an extensive international network of cameras that uses facial-recognition technology to assist law enforcement in keeping tabs on urban populations.
When WikiLeaks began publishing stolen emails from Stratfor in August, the intelligence giant that owns TrapWire, the pro-transparency website was hit with a very sophisticated DDOS attack that made the site inaccessible to journalists or anyone else. The DDOS takedown, a tactic also commonly used by Anonymous, who provided WikiLeaks with the emails, was thought to be in retaliation for the intelligence leaks.
Despite publishing U.S. diplomatic cables, incriminating classified videos and a host of other sensitive information from powerful governments, WikiLeaks has never been the victim of such an attack before.