Anonymous threatens takedown of live streams of State of the Union address

Anonymous, the hacker group known for its public protests against government censorship, says it plans to take down live streams of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

In a blog post Tuesday, the group said only the live streams will be disrupted. The group was not specific on which streams it was targeting.

“So as not to infringe upon the President’s free speech, subsequent broadcasts will be allowed to pass unhindered. This action is being taken to underline a fact that appears to be sorely unrecognized by the Obama Administration–that the Internet is a sovereign territory, and does not fall under the jurisdiction of any nation state,” the group said in an open letter to Obama.

It is unclear how the group will take down every live stream of the president’s address, because it will be streamed on multiple sites.

The group is also plans to clog the #SOTU hashtag on Twitter starting at 8 p.m. EST. The president is scheduled to address Congress and the nation at 9 p.m. EST.

Why this action?

Anonymous is protesting the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), military drone attacks, and the government’s prosecution of computer programmer Aaron Swartz and WikiLeaks informant Bradley Manning.

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Pro-Internet groups such as Anonymous are concerned that CISPA, which is being reintroduced in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, will allow the government and private companies spy on citizens’ Internet usage.

NDAA, the defense budget bill, includes a provision that lets the government detain American citizens indefinitely on suspicions of terrorist activity.

“We reject the State of the Union. We reject the authority of the President to sign arbitrary orders and bring irresponsible and damaging controls to the Internet,” the group said in its online call to action.

Hackers operating under the Anonymous umbrella have been busy so far this year, taking down the U.S. Sentencing Commission website and turning the Massachusetts Institute of Technology site into a memorial for Swartz after his death in mid-January.

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