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English Defence League membership list stolen

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The personal details of English Defence League supporters have been stolen in a hacking attack on its website, it was reported today.

The far-right group's leadership emailed members in recent days to warn them of the breach, the Daily Telegraph reports.

"As you may have become aware the English Defence League clothing site was recently attacked," the email said.

"This attack took two forms, firstly members' names and addresses were stolen from the donation database [and] secondly the details of members purchasing items from the clothing site.

"The EDL would like to apologise for this security leak. The leadership is doing everything they can to understand how this occurred so it can never happen again."

Police are reportedly investigating the data theft.

The EDL, which claims it is not a racist organisation but a protest movement against the "Islamification" of the UK, has plenty of adversaries who would be interested in its membership list.

Its members, many of whom are linked to football hooliganism, have clashed with Muslims and anti-fascist protestors. The EDL's frequently violent demonstrations have also made it a target for covert intelligence-gathering authorities. Another possibility is that the group has simply become victim of professional cybercriminals.

There is precedent for data theft from Britain's far right. In 2008, a list of more than 10,000 British National Party members was leaked to anti-fascist blogs. It later emerged that two disgruntled party insiders, rather than hostile hackers, were responsible.

At time of writing, the EDL website was unavailable. ®

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