Computer hackers from Denmark have exposed two suspected paedophiles in what they say is an attempt to clean up the web.
According to the Berlingske newspaper, the hackers, who published the names of two men on Facebook, are associated with the global online activist group Anonymous.
The hack is thought to be in connection with Op SafeKids, a collective effort, supported by Anonymous, to report child porn websites.
One of the hackers, referred to only as ‘Locutuz’, spoke to the Berlingske newspaper. “They should have expected us, and they can expect that this will continue to happen,” Locutuz said, seemingly making reference to the Anonymous calling card: “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”
One of the alleged paedophiles has since been fired, and police have searched his home and seized his computers. The action has however been condemned by Inspector Johnny Lundberg of the national police IT unit.
“There are many cases of child abuse online, and we investigate a large number of them each year,” Lundberg told the newspaper. “Of course there are more out there than we investigate, but that doesn’t mean that people should play police and expose people on the net.”
His views were echoed by Thomas Ploug, a member of parliament’s ethics advisory panel and a lecturer in IT ethics.
“This is not the only way to catch paedophiles,” Ploug said. “If people come across information that could lead to catching these people, they should pass it on to police. We are a state based on law and passing judgement on these actions should be left to the courts.”
The hackers, however, claim that their actions are justified due to the plague of child pornography in Denmark. In December last year, 19 men were arrested in the country on child pornography charges, with one man alone found with over 9,000 hours of video.