Hacktivist group Anonymous defaced a U.S. government website Saturday as an act of vengeance against federal prosecutors’ aggressive pursuit of legal action against activist Aaron Swartz, which many in the technology community — including Swartz’s family and partner — believe contributed to Swartz’s suicide several weeks ago.
The website for the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent judicial branch agency, was “taken over early Saturday and replaced with a message warning that “a line was crossed,” CBS reported Saturday.
“Anonymous has observed for some time now the trajectory of justice in the United States with growing concern,” the message said.
“We have marked the departure of this system from the noble ideals in which it was born and enshrined. We have seen the erosion of due process, the dilution of constitutional rights, the usurpation of the rightful authority of courts by the “discretion” or prosecutors. We have seen how the law is wielded less and less to uphold justice, and more and more to exercise control, authority and power in the interests of oppression or personal gain.”
The hacktivist group threatened to publicly release secret documents allegedly obtained through infiltration of federal government computers.
CBS reported that the FBI was aware of the incident as soon as it happened, and that it was handling the hack as a criminal investigation.