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Anonymous hacks Utah, federal sites in protest

Anonymous hacks Utah, federal sites in protest



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SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah association has taken its website temporarily offline after hackers took control of the website Thursday to protest recent government anti-piracy action.

The ‘hacktivist' group Anonymous took credit for taking down at least six prominent websites Thursday, including those of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Motion Picture Association of America.

The Utah Chiefs of Police Association was also a target of the hackers. The text on homepage was replaced Thursday with the logo of Megaupload, a popular file-sharing website that was shut down Thursday by federal authorities on charges that it had facilitated the illegal sharing of media.

"Greetings world," text on the association's homepage read. "We are Anonymous. recently the United States Government's tyrannical leaders have chosen to censor, beat and detain us. This injustice will not go unpunished."

As of Friday morning, the UCPA's website had been "temporarily closed for maintenance."

The association could not be reached for comment.

Anonymous also reportedly took down the websites of the Recording Industry Association of America, Universal Music Group and the U.S. Copyright Office. It is unclear why the Utah Chiefs of Police website was targeted.

"Megaupload was taken down w/out SOPA being law," Anonymous wrote Thursday on Twitter. "Now imagine what will happen if it passes. The Internet as we know it will end. FIGHT BACK."

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SOPA — the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act — aims to stop the sharing on the Internet of pirated media. It, along with its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, has been the subject of recent protests, including the 24-hour blackout Wednesday of Wikipedia.

The House of Representatives announced Friday it would postpone consideration of the SOPA due to censorship concerns raised by critics.

"It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products," the author of the act, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, also announced Friday he would delay consideration of PIPA, the Senate's answer to SOPA. Reid said he was "optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks."

Multiple lawmakers have withdrawn their support for the bills after a widespread Jan. 18 online protest of the legislation. Critics of the legislation say it would lead to censorship, while proponents claim the legislation is necessary to protect American consumers and intellectual property.

Neither the House nor the Senate has stated for how long a vote on the legislation will be postponed.

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Stephanie Grimes

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