Anonymous targets Irish government over Piracy laws claim reports

Hack collective Anonymous has apparently targeted the Irish government in its latest DDoS attack wave, protesting proposals for its version of the US SOPA anti-piracy act. The Irish Department of Justice and Department of Finance sites were taken offline early on Wednesday morning this week, a government spokesperson confirmed to the Irish Times, the downtime on each lasting roughly an hour.

"This is not an attempt to extract information from the website but is instead an attempt to stop access to a service" the official Irish statement said. "There appears to be no damage done to the website."

The new Irish legislation, "S.I. No. of 2011 European Communities (Copyright and Related Rights) Regulations 2011", has already been dubbed "SOPA Ireland" and gathered over 32,000 signatures to an online petition protesting the act. "This legislation subverts the democratic process," the protestors claim, "favors the special interests of corporations over the rights of individual citizens, will destroy the largest growth sector in the Irish economy, and will subject the citizens of Ireland to unwarranted and unintended censorship."

Under the new legislation, ISPs could be forced to block access to sites that offer content believed to be illegally shared. Its origins are in a High Court ruling from 2010, in which music publisher EMI won a claim that content it owned the rights to was being distributed but, because of the limitations of the Copyright Act as it stood, no actual action could be taken.