Turkish police have detained 32 suspected members of the online cyberactivism collective Anonymous, over possible links to attacks on a number of websites.
The arrests were in response to a complaint from Turkey’s Directorate of Telecommunications, whose website was taken down last Thursday as part of a protest against what Anonymous has said is government censorship of the internet.
The Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday that nine minors out of the group of 32 suspects had been released without charges, but that the remaining 23 were still being questioned.
Turkey, whose ruling AKP party won a parliamentary vote on Sunday, plans to introduce a new internet filtering system in August, under which users will have to sign up for one of four filters – domestic, family, children and standard.
Anonymous, a loose activist collective that previously attacked websites including Amazon and Mastercard, says the system will make it possible to keep records of people’s online activity.
Last week access to Turkey’s telecoms authority website, identified as a main target in the group’s “Operation Turkey” campaign was blocked at 1500GMT on Thursday.
In a posting on its official website, Anonymous issued a statement pledging to fight what it said was internet censorship there.
There has been a crackdown on the group in recent days.
Last week Spanish police arrested three suspected members of the group on charges of cyber attacks against targets including Sony Corp’s PlayStation Network, governments, businesses and banks.
Police on Friday alleged the three arrested ‘hacktivists’ had been involved in recent attacks on the Japanese electronics manufacturer, Spanish banks BBVA and Bankia and Italian energy group Enel SpA.
The arrests are the first in Spain against members of Anonymous following similar legal proceedings in the US and Britain.
Police said all three men were Spanish and in their 30s. One worked in the merchant navy.
The suspected Anonymous members, who were arrested in Almeria, Barcelona and Alicante, were guilty of co-ordinated computer hacking attacks from a server set up in a house in Gijon in the north of Spain, the Spanish police said.
Sony shocked gamers in late April by revealing that hackers had stolen personal information from the accounts of 77 million users of its online video-games network.
A week later, it said hackers had stolen data from another 25 million users of its computer games system.
Sony’s PlayStation Network was crippled for a month as the company tried to find and fix the problem.
Anonymous, a loose grouping of activists which has carried out cyber attacks on organisations including Sony in the past, said at the time it was not responsible for those attacks and had no interest in stealing credit-card details.
Its members describe themselves as internet freedom fighters and have previously brought down the websites of the Church of Scientology, Amazon, Mastercard and others they saw as hostile to WikiLeaks.