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‘Anonymous’ allegedly crashes Justice.gov after FBI shuts down MegaUpload

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Hacktivists affiliated with the “Anonymous” movement took credit for crashing the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Universal Music Group on Thursday after the FBI shut down one of the most popular file sharing websites, MegaUpload.com.

“The DOJ web server hosting justice.gov is experiencing a significant increase in activity, resulting in a degradation in service,” the Justice Department tweeted hours after going offline. “The department is working to ensure the website is available while we investigate the origins of this activity which is being treated as a malicious act until we can fully identify the root cause of the disruption.”

The group later took credit for crashing the site of the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America. They also briefly knocked the sites of the U.S Copyright Office site, the record label BMI and the French copyright authority HADOPI offline. “Anonymous” hackers also gained internal access to the Utah Chiefs Of Police Association site.

The sites were apparently subjected to a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), where the bandwidth or resources of a web server is flooded with Internet traffic in hopes of knocking it offline.

MegaUpload, which had more than 150 million registered users, was shut down by the FBI because of alleged copyright infringement despite the fact that it claimed to comply with copyright infringement notices. The site allowed registered users to upload files, which could then be downloaded by others.

The owners of the site claimed to work with copyright enforcement agencies to remove infringing material and said they complied with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices. But prosecutors said they were not diligent enough and labelled the site a “mega conspiracy,” which cost copyright holders $500 million.

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“In exchange for payment, the Mega Conspiracy provides fast reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted works from its servers located around the world,” the indictment said.

Seven of its founders and employees have been charged with online piracy crimes. Four of those suspects have already been arrested in New Zealand, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The charges include copyright infringement as well as conspiracies to commit racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering.

The shut down of MegaUpload came after the largest online protest in history. Thousands of sites joined in a blackout protest on Wednesday against the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Some sites, like Wikipedia, completely shut down and displayed only message urging people to oppose the bills. Other sites, like Google, continued functioning normally but put up a black background and predominately displayed their opposition to the bills.

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The author of PIPA praised the FBI’s actions on Thursday.

“Today’s action by the Department of Justice against the leaders of MegaUpload.com shows what law enforcement can do to protect American intellectual property that is stolen through domestic websites,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said in a statement. “Unfortunately, there are no tools in the arsenal to protect that same American intellectual property from theft by websites hosted and operated overseas.”

“Why should we give greater protections to criminals engaging in the same conduct overseas?” he continued. “Meaningful legislation to stop online infringement and piracy by foreign rogue websites will protect American workers, American consumers and America’s economy. The PROTECT IP Act would close this gap and offer a meaningful solution to this costly and corrosive problem.”

Updated at 7:23pm ET.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Trump’s hamfisted attempt to wag the dog with Iran unraveled fast

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

We can’t say with any certainty that Iran wasn’t behind the attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman this week, but it is clear that the Trump regime’s account of what happened unraveled very quickly. Shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a video of a small vessel removing something Pompeo said was a mine from the damaged port side of one of the ships, the vessel's owner said that it had actually been struck on its starboard side, above the waterline, by a flying object. If this were in fact an effort to pull a Gulf of Tonkin, then the fact that this was the best dog-wagging they could conjure up would be downright pathetic.    

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Here is how ABC gave a helping hand to Donald Trump in his bid to be re-elected

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On Friday morning, some affiliates in ABC News’ digital division posted an article promoting an online “birthday card” for President Donald Trump — who turned 73. The “card” turned out to be linked to a petition website created by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC). And those ABC affiliates, according to the Daily Beast, helped Trump and the RNC add to their e-mail lists.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. President!,” the content read. “To help him celebrate, the GOP has made him a digital birthday card.”

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Trump perfectly trolled with Obama’s stock market success after president warns of crash without him

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Reporting on one of Donald Trump's Saturday tweets -- where the president darkly warned that the stock market would collapse if he is not re-elected -- a financial reporter for Bloomberg slyly pointed out that Trump financial successes since he became president are "middling" -- and that his predecessor was more successful.

According to Bloomberg's Roz Krasny, "President Donald Trump, gearing up for the official start of his 2020 campaign, warned that the U.S. would face an epic stock market crash if he’s not re-elected," noting his tweet stated, "The Trump Economy is setting records, and has a long way up to go....However, if anyone but me takes over in 2020 (I know the competition very well), there will be a Market Crash the likes of which has not been seen before! KEEP AMERICA GREAT."

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