The Australian government is the latest victim of international hacking group Anonymous.
Australian website news.com.au has reported that at least 10 of the country's government websites were knocked offline in a series of attacks over proposed changes to Internet privacy laws.
If an Australian online security bill gets passed into law, it could require ISPs to store user activity for a period of two years, allowing Web users' every online move to be watched by the government.
In response, the Australian arm of Anonymous threatened to continue its attacks on ".gov.au" sites until the bill is halted.
The first attacks were conducted in conjunction with Prime Minister Julia Gillard's online Q&A session this weekend, Anonymous Australia told news.com.au. So far, the only targeted sites are run by the Queensland State Government.
Anonymous specifically chose those sites because the group had "proof," it told news.com.au, that business, education department, and student and personal accounts had been tracked. The hacker group argued that while the government becomes more and more secretive, its grasp on information about citizens continues to tighten.
"The Australian Government is attempting to strip away its citizens' internet rights by forcing them to surrender passwords and internet usage data," the hacker group wrote in an email to news.com.au.
Anonymous is angry over more than simply Internet privacy, though. The group admitted that its actions were also in response to recent denials of Australian-born WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition, as well as the jailing of whistleblower and former Sydney Airport customs official Allan Kessing.
The Queensland Premier's office confirmed to news.co.au that a number of state government and non-government websites were hacked, and have since been patched.
"Unless the Government starts acting in the best interest of its people, it will continue to bring the noise," Anonymous said.
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