In the unlikely event that you tried to visit New York State Board of Elections
official website today, you probably noticed that it didn’t work. And if you were up early enough, you would have seen that the site briefly got a bit of a makeover, courtesy of our hacktivist friends at Anonymous, who are protesting the reported human rights abuses taking place in Brazil in advance of the FIFA World Cup, set to begin Thursday.
Hackers News Bulletin reports that Anonymous members from both Brazil and abroad are planning to hack a number of websites to protest the World Cup. Many Brazilians are furious about the $11 billion pricetag associated with hosting the game, and angry too that many of the nation’s poorest citizens have been rousted from their homes in an apparent attempt to “clean up” the country’s most populous cities before they get an influx of visitors. Amnesty International has expressed concern that the Brazilian government, which last year detained and injured hundreds of protesters during demonstrations over transit hikes, will use the Cup as an excuse to crack down further on their citizenry. Sao Paulo’s transit workers are currently in the fifth day of a general strike, and the Guardian reports that the police have already used teargas to subdue protesters.
It’s unclear what the New York State Board of Elections has to do with any of that. But early this morning, an Anonymous-affiliated Twitter handle, Autonomous Operations, tweeted this:
— AutonomousOperations (@YourRevoCentral) June 9, 2014
Hacker News reports that a series of Brazilian government websites have been taken down. Anonymous also published a “potential target list,” which includes many of the game’s biggest sponors: Visa, McDonalds, Adidas, Coke and Budweiser among them.
Those sites are still untouched, but the New York Elections Bureau, which is perhaps less well-defended, has been down all day. According to HN, the site’s address was briefly changed to elections.ny.gov/anonbrazil, and the homepage replaced with this video:
So, if you need to look up the finer points of state election law or campaign finance, now’s not the time.