Do you want to know the secret to getting on Anonymous’ bad side? Try passing a law that punishes people for watching YouTube videos. Japan just recently passed a law that would fine and imprison people for watching YouTube videos of copyrighted content. Once they caught wind of the news, Anonymous launched #OpJapan in protest.
Anonymous launched the campaign with a press release on AnonPR stating their motives and actions that would define the movement:
Greetings land of the rising sun, we are Anonymous.
In recent years the content industry, politicians, and governments throughout the world have dramatically increased their efforts to combat internet piracy and copyright infringement. Unfortunately in doing so they have often taken the wrong approach which has lead to draconian laws, infringements of basic rights, and severely stunting the growth of technological innovations.
Japan, home to some of the greatest technological innovations throughout history has now decided to go down the path as well and cave into the pressures of the content industry to combat piracy and copyright infringement. 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
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.
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.
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.
Anonymous has set up the usual Twitter account that details all of their actions. They’re mixing it up this time by not only pulling DDoS attacks on various Japanese government Web sites, but encouraging street action by posting fliers.
Here we come #Japan ヘ(^_^ヘ)(ノ^_^)ノ
Anonymous recently launched a campaign against India for that country’s attempt to block The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing Web sites. After massive protests from Anonymous and many Indian citizens, access was reinstated. Japan won’t be so easy. They’re protesting a law this time and Japan is well-known for ignoring its citizens in favor of pandering to the U.S. and special interests, even the non-otaku citizens that will be out against this bill.
Speaking of otaku, Japan has a sizable Twitter-using population who could fall into the category of otaku (nerd). The majority of the 9,400 followers of @OpJapan could definitely be labeled within this category. While it’s a fantastic sign of support from the tech savvy population of Japan, the national media (NHK) in Japan is probably going to twist it against them as otaku are not exactly respected in mainstream culture.
I want to remain optimistic, but I highly doubt that the Japanese government is going to rethink this law. It’s going to take the law openly hurting innocents before they go back to the drawing board. We’ll keep you updated when and if #OpJapan pulls off any crazy hijinks. They’re not going to give up easily so it will be interesting to see how the Japanese media reacts to a concentrated cyberattack.