Twitter suspends Anonymous' account, reinstates it hours later

In a knee-jerk reaction and an equally quick counter reaction, YourAnonNews – one of the biggest accounts of the hacker group Anonymous – was suspended by Twitter and brought back to life within a matter of a few hours. It is suspected that the account was suspended in reaction to either it violating privacy policy of the website or tweets related directly to the Westboro Baptists Church.

The account was disabled at around 11:30 AM EST on December 19, allegedly because it published people’s ‘private information’ most likely in connection with their ongoing tussle with the Westboro Baptists Church. The church group from Kansas, known for their extreme ideologies, has been at the receiving end of the hacktivists’ wrath after they learnt that the Church was to picket outside the memorial for the victims of the Newtown school shootout.

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The account allegedly tweeted out details about the church members’ private lives – names, phone numbers and locations – prompting Twitter to black the account out. Twitter’s service rules regarding privacy policies read, “Privacy: You may not publish or post other people’s private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission.

Anon_Central, another account of the Anonymous group, announced the suspension of YourAnonNews saying, “#Breaking: @twitter has suspended @YourAnonNews. #YAN #Anonymous.” Playing by the rule books, Anonymous apparently sent a mail to Twitter support asking about the suspension and received a ticket for the complaint.

The tweet in question read, "Sorry, Shirley isn't available at the moment," then had a link to a photograph that presumably revealed "Shirley's" private information. The tweet has since been deleted from YourAnonNews’ timeline.

The account was up and kicking within a couple of hours after the suspension after Twitter mailed the hacktivists noting down privacy violation examples. The email shared by YourAnonNews after the suspension was withdrawn shows Twitter rapping them gently on the knuckles, “Please note that future Twitter Rules violations may result in permanent account suspension.”

Back here in India, Anonymous’ Indian arm was in the news for having allegedly hacked and defaced Union Minister for Communication, Information and Technology, Kapil Sibal’s website. According to tweets by the hacker group, this attack was provoked by "inconsistencies" in the IT Act. The 'About' page of the website was hacked to show derogatory statements about Sibal. The website was compromised only for a few hours and was said to be "under maintenance" for hours after Sibal wrestled control of it again. Anonymous had also called for a meeting in protest of Section 66A in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai.

In the past, Anonymous had taken down MTNL’s website in India to protest against internet censorship when certain ISPs had blocked websites in the country. They also managed to compromise the net filter of Reliance to redirect to a new page when users tried to log on to Twitter. The Page read, “Told you not to mess with free speech and lesser with Anonymous. Government of India, you know what you did wrong. You caused out twitter account to be blocked now we will show you what anonymous is capable of doing."

Published Date: Dec 20, 2012 11:49 am | Updated Date: Dec 20, 2012 11:49 am