Anonymous Hacks U.S. Sentencing Commission Website

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A screenshot of the Commission's hacked website.

Early Saturday morning, Anonymous took over the website of the U.S. Sentencing Commission in retaliation for the death of Aaron Swartz, the 26-year-old Internet activist who committed suicide earlier this month. In a lengthy message left on the site, the hacking collective wrote that Swartz's death — which many have blamed on overly aggressive federal prosecutors — meant that "a line was crossed" in the "game" between the Justice Department and open web advocates. "This website was chosen due to the symbolic nature of its purpose," Anonymous wrote. "The federal sentencing guidelines [enable] prosecutors to cheat citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial, by a jury of their peers." In addition to demanding reforms to computer crime laws, the hackers also claimed to have obtained secret government files and threatened to release them to media outlets "at regular intervals commencing today." As of mid-morning Saturday, the Commission's site had been taken offline.