Shortly after the world learned that the country had approved a new anti-piracy bill, Anonymous hacktivists launched Operation Japan to protest against the extreme measures and the way they were formulated.
According to The Japan Times
, the law was approved by the Education, Culture and Science Committee of the House of Councilors with 221 votes in favor.
After October 1, when the law goes into effect, users who download copyrighted content or copy DVDs may receive a fine of up to ¥2 million ($25,000 or 20,000 EUR) and can even be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison.
Many fear that the way the bill is worded leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which could lead to a lot of unfair prosecutions.
In response to the news, Anonymous has released a statement that announces the start of an operation against the Japanese government.
“Earlier this week Japan approved an amendment to its copyright law which will give authorities the right to imprison citizens for up to two years simply for downloading copyrighted material,” Anonymous wrote
“We at Anonymous believe strongly that this will result in scores of unnecessary prison sentences to numerous innocent citizens while doing little to solve the underlying problem of legitimate copyright infringement,” the hacktivists added.
“If this situation alone wasn’t horrible enough already, the content industry is now pushing ISPs in Japan to implement surveillance technology that will spy on and every single internet user in Japan. This would be an unprecedented approach and severely reduce the amount of privacy law abiding citizens should have in a free society.”
They concluded by launching a threat against the government and organizations that represent rights holders.
“To the government of Japan and the Recording Industry Association of Japan, you can now expect us the same way we have come to expect you in violating our basic rights to privacy and to an open internet.”
One day after the operation was announced, Japan’s Ministry of Finance shut down part of its computer networks after it identified a breach attempt, the Wall Street Journal reported
. It’s uncertain if the attack is part of OpJapan
, but the timing indicates that it may be.