Polish politicians donned Guy Fawkes masks in parliament this week, in protest of a SOPA-style anti-piracy agreement signed by the government. Members of the leftwing Palikot’s Movement produced apparently home-made masks – popularized by comic-turned-film V for Vendetta and now largely associated with hack-collective Anonymous – to show their disdain for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) the AP reports.
ACTA was signed by the US and Canada last year, with Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Greece all joining Poland in agreeing to the act this year. However, despite the governmental support, internet users and privacy activists have been outspoken in their opposition.
The Act, they say, removes safeguards that currently protect an ISP from the activity of its subscribers, something that is expected to increase the likelihood of internet providers reducing user privacy so as to avoid incriminating themselves. The Free Software Foundation has alleged that ACTA would also prevent sites from distributing apps that could be used to acquire content illegally, such as BitTorrent and other P2P software.
Local internet activist factions claiming to be part of Anonymous subsequently attacked various Polish government sites, resulting in sporadic downtime, while sites of groups supporting ACTA were also targeted. Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski argued that the internet was at risk of becoming a place of “legal anarchy” and that “theft on a massive scale of intellectual property is not a good thing.”