Anonymous is branching out. This rainy morning in Tokyo, 50 or so masked men and women are converging on Miyashita Park, garbage bags in hand, to join Operation Japan’s Anonymous Cleaning Service — picking up litter in one of Tokyo’s busiest districts in equal parts public service, protest, and PR campaign. The event is the Japanese group’s first public demonstration, and it’s using the occasion to speak out against recently-passed revisions to the country’s copyright law. The changes criminalize illegal downloading, and would see the country’s ISPs begin monitoring internet traffic for suspicious activity. Today’s event follows a series of DDoS attacks last week on the websites of the country’s two major political parties, various government ministries, JASRAC (Japan’s equivalent to ASCAP), and the Japanese supreme court.
“We’re not saying we want the government to let people engage in so-called illegal downloading. But we are opposed to the incursions on freedom of information and online privacy that the criminalization of illegal downloading would bring,” said a member taking questions from the media. A second participant pointed out that many in attendance were opposed to the DDoS attacks, not just because they thought they were ineffective, but because they “got in the way of people doing their work.” He later added, “among the Japanese-speaking Anonymous, a lot of people think that the attacks are bad, which is why we were able to put together this kind of peaceful demonstration so quickly.”
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