Anonymous unveils data-sharing websites amid privacy concerns

Reuters / Siu Chiu
Just days before the US Congress starts discussing new cybersecurity legislation, those fighting for online freedoms unleashed their own ammunition by way of some new websites that strike to keep the Internet open.

Hacktivists claiming to be involved in the online collective Anonymous have revealed two new projects in recent days, one offering a new platform to listen to and share music through and another to post text write-ups on hacks and other news relevant to the community.

Until recently, the website Pastebin has been largely used by the Anonymous collective as an outlet for sharing and publishing hack logs and bulletins about various endeavors undertaken by the group, both controversial and not. Pastebin has hosted information on planned Anon-led operations, troves of data uncovered during infiltrations of computer networks and even the personal information of targets of the group, a practice referred to in the community as a d0x. That has changed in recent weeks, however, after Pastebin publically announced that they would be condemning questionable use from alleged Anonymous members.

Speaking to the BBC earlier this month, Pastebin founder Jeroen Vader said, “I think it is very important that people have access to sites like Pastebin, because it offers them total freedom of speech. Especially if they post their items behind a proxy of some kind, there is no way to trace who posted what. It is great to see that people use Pastebin as a platform to get their thoughts and ideals out to the rest of the world.” Addressing a question over how the site handles the redaction of postings, though, Vader added that the company was looking to “hire some extra people soon to monitor more of the website's content.”

Vader also acknowledged that Pastebin is regularly approached by authorities who demand IP addresses from its users and complies with those request when its necessary. As an authoritarian clamp gets dangled above what’s left of online freedoms, hacktivists are finding an alternative to Pastebin with a new website, Anonpaste.

"As a recent leak of private emails show clearly, Pastebin is not only willing to give up IP addresses to governments – but apparently has already given many IPs to at least one private security firm. And these leaked emails also revealed a distinct animosity towards Anonymous,” the hacktivists explain with the launch of the site, which was created with the aid of the People’s Liberation Front.

And just as members of the Anonymous collective attempt to carry on without Pastebin, they are also approaching another controversial topic on the Internet: streaming music.

Hacktivists claiming allegiance with Anonymous also unveiled this week AnonTune. Just as AnonPaste replicates the services originally available through companies like Vader’s, AnonTune will compete with sites that allow users to share streaming music. Although still in development, the creators of the service explain in a whitepaper hosted on their site that they aim to “provide pervasive free access to music across the Internet,” at the same time doing so at a reduced cost without a central network. Custom coding will allow users to be afforded “legal indemnity and anonymity from prosecution,” its creators add, as well as a “flexible, dynamic, redundant and fault-tolerant organization of music networks.”

Earlier this week, RT spoke with Nadim Kobeissi, a developer behind a chat anonymity program jjust released called Cryptocat. Citing concerns over how quickly the United States government is attempting to censor the Web, Kobeissi said he was working hard over his latest endeavor to ensure that activists in America would be able to combat increasingly commonplace attacks on the Internet.

“A lot of people like to use Facebook chat and Google talk and web IM services like that – and that’s great, but these services actually communicate what you’re talking about to Facebook and Google and there is no privacy. Your communications can easily be intercepted by these parties, and also by governmental organizations,” he told RT.