Anonymous 'plonks' names, addresses of far-right EDL types on web
But who was able to write them down in the first place?
Computer-hacking collective Anonymous claims it has leaked online the personal details of the far-right English Defence League's members.
The hackers' list - the authenticity of which has not been independently verified - includes the names and addresses of more than 200 supposed members of the controversial protest organisation, as well as the mobile phone numbers of its senior figures.
The English Defence League (EDL), which opposes what it claims is the spread of Islamism in Blighty, staged a number of rallies in the wake of the horrific murder of Lee Rigby in south London by two thugs who had apparently converted to Islam.
The group's demonstrations were accompanied by counter-protests by anti-fascist campaigners, who oppose the EDL's Islamophobia and anti-immigrant agenda. In one reported case, a York mosque successfully quelled an EDL protest with tea, biscuits and football.
Now Anonymous UK has accused the EDL of taking "advantage of moments of fear and terror to spread hatred and animosity" in a YouTube message accompanying the leak; the activists also threatened the start of a broader campaign - codenamed Operation EDL - aimed at bringing down the group.
It's not clear where the leaked data came from but two hacktivist crews - ZHC (ZCompany Hacking Crew) from Pakistan and TeaMp0isoN - claim to have lifted membership lists after cracking into the EDL's website and forum, respectively. An EDL clothing web store has also been hacked, resulting in the leak of name and addresses of its customers, we're told.
There are several EDL-supporting pages on Facebook and one of main ones boasts more than 132,000 members. The leaked list reportedly focusses on cash donors to the EDL.
There are UK precedents for this type of leak. In 2008, a list of more than 10,000 British National Party members was splashed all over anti-fascist blogs. Months afterwards it emerged that two disgruntled party insiders, rather than hostile hackers, were responsible. At least some of the entries turned out to be inaccurate.
Leaks of supposed EDL members are not new either. Two years ago a school received hatemail targeting its caretaker after he was wrongly identified as a fascist by English Defence League opponents, based on data stolen from an EDL site. The caretaker had donated £1 via PayPal after reading about "poppy burning or about the disruption of a military funeral" to "support our troops" without knowing that the funds were destined for the EDL. ®
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