The hacker group known as Anonymous has responded to the death of tech activist Aaron Swartz by hacking into a government website in the United States that is connected to the justice system. The group posted a statement that said it would leak documents if the justice system does not change, according to Cnet.
The website that belongs to the United States Sentencing Commission was hacked on Friday and a message posted by the group was called “Operation Last Resort.” The group also posted a list of downloadable encrypted files that they claim has sensitive information.
“Two weeks ago today, a line was crossed,” the group’s statement reads. “Two weeks ago today, Aaron Swartz was killed. Killed because he faced an impossible choice. Killed because he was forced into playing a game he could not win — a twisted and distorted perversion of justice — a game where the only winning move was not to play.”
Swartz, who committed suicide a couple of weeks ago, had been charged with 13 felonies and threatened with decades in prison and fines over $1 million. The followers of Anonymous were urged by the group to download the files on the website. The files are nine downloads that are named after the U.S. Supreme Court Justices. The group of files was named ‘warhead.’
“Warhead-US-DOJ-LEA-2013.AEE256 is primed and armed. It has been quietly distributed to numerous mirrors over the last few days and is available for download from this website now. We encourage all Anonymous to syndicate this file as widely as possible.”
“The contents are various and we won’t ruin the speculation by revealing them. Suffice it to say, everyone has secrets, and some things are not meant to be public. At a regular interval commencing today, we will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents of the file.”
The files can only be accessed with a decryption key and the group said that it does not necessarily want to give the key to its followers. “It is our hope that this warhead need never be detonated.”
The rest of the statement said:
“…in order for there to be a peaceful resolution to this crisis, certain things need to happen. There must be reform of outdated and poorly-envisioned legislation, written to be so broadly applied as to make a felony crime out of violation of terms of service, creating in effect vast swathes of crimes, and allowing for selective punishment. There must be reform of mandatory minimum sentencing. There must be a return to proportionality of punishment with respect to actual harm caused, and consideration of motive and mens rea [criminal intent]. The inalienable right to a presumption of innocence and the recourse to trial and possibility of exoneration must be returned to its sacred status, and not gambled away by pre-trial bargaining in the face of overwhelming sentences, unaffordable justice, and disfavourable odds. Laws must be upheld unselectively, and not used as a weapon of government to make examples of those it deems threatening to its power.”