24th Jul 2012 9:12am | By Laura Chubb
The 'hacktivist' group Anonymous has taken down at least 10 Australian government websites in a cyber attack to protest proposed changes to privacy laws.
The Aussie faction of the group said it will continue to take '.gov.au' sites offline until plans to force ISPs to store user data and make it available to security services are scrapped.
Supporters of the group often appear in public wearing the trademark Guy Fawkes mask, pictured.
In an email to news website news.com.au, Anonymous Australia said: “The Australian Government is attempting to strip away its citizens’ internet rights by forcing them to surrender passwords and internet usage data.
“Unless the Government starts acting in the best interest of its people, [Anonymous] will continue to bring the noise.”
The proposed changes mean social networking and emails would be monitored, with the data being stored for up to two years. Intelligence agencies would reportedly be allowed increased access to the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
The email from Anonymous Australia continued: “We no longer know about many of the activities of our governments while our governments have the means to accumulate unprecedented vast banks of data about us.
"Whilst our own rights to privacy dwindle, corporate rights to commercial confidentiality and intellectual property skyrocket."
Queensland Premier's office confirmed that attackers had hacked a range of State government and non-government websites on an external service provider's server.