The Anonymous hacktivist collective dropped its Operation Hiroshima bomb on New Year's Day, and despite its success in pulling off a large-scale, wide-reaching document dump, the event has received very little coverage by the mainstream media.
Known best by its Twitter hashtag #OpHiroshima, the dump was an organized attempt to "dox," or release as much incriminating and integral information as possible on one day about institutions, officials, corporations and other entities with which various sectors of the diverse Anon collective have grievances.
As a member of the doxing crew known as Doxcak3 told the International Business Times via telephone last week, the plan was not to harm the targets of their ire, but instead to provide as much information as possible on them in order to ensure that they know they are accountable for their actions.
"We're coming into the new year and we want to make one big solid move in solidarity with anyone who has public information they want to distribute freely," the Doxcak3 member explained. "We want to give our common oppressors a challenge, to clean up the mess of information that has fallen through the cracks and get started on the new year."
A YouTube video (see below) released by Anonymous Dec. 24 featured a montage of footage depicting the collective's dark view of currentworld affairs before switching to a robotic voice narrating while an Anonymous symbol fills the screen. The narrator goes on to give another account of what Operation Hiroshima means.
Continue Reading Below
"On Jan. 1, 2012, at 12 a.m., every last piece of information on you corrupt individuals we have acquired through our individual skills will be released all across the Web everywhere," the narrator states. "What is the point of this? Well, it's to show that we still run this. You take our speech, you take our Internet, you take our Bill of Rights, you take our Constitution, we fight back. Get ready for a new year: 2012, a year of Anonymous. Operation Hiroshima engaged."
Expanding on the example Julian Assange set with his groundbreaking releases of sensitive data and documents via WikiLeaks, on Dec. 31 the Anonymous movement posted thousands of pages of documents on websites like Pastebin and Scribd via the popular hacktivist technique known as doxing.
The list of targets hit by Operation Hiroshima runs the gamut from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Stock Exchange to U.S. senators who voted for this year's National Defense Authorization Act and the Boston and Oakland, Calif., police departments.
The document dump exposed key information such as the targets' personal addresses, e-mails and phone numbers, family members and financial statements, which the Doxcak3 member said was selected to ensure that citizens are able to access and get through to the people whom they see as committing unjust acts against American citizens.
"What we want to do is expose injustices to people," the Doxcak3 member explained. "And as far as what people do with the information, I don't want people to take it to the extreme and I don't want people to get hurt, but some of these big corporations and some of these everyday people who root for that side of the team, I basically want them to sit uncomfortably and for them to realize that their information is out there, that people are out there watching them, and that they need to mind their p's and q's. People behind doors act differently than they do out in the open."
Other documents released as part of Operation Hiroshima include what appear to be documents obtained from the FBI, Department of Homeland Seccurity and other government agencies, as well as other files that deal with issues including global governance, national security and basic government operations.
It is difficult to determine whether or not the documents are classified, and whether they were obtained from people who have access to such files through their employers, through the work of hackers, or through legitimate means of accessing governmental records, such as Freedom of Information Act requests.
Doxcak3 was instrumental in releasing many of the documents dumped under #OpHiroshima, and the group also helped generate publicity for the event.
"Much of the information had been released over the past year, but one of the key goals of Operation Hiroshima was to release a mass of information all at once in order to generate as much buzz as possible in order to lead a maximum number of eyeballs to a single document containing a compilation of the fruits of all the Anonymous collective's doxing labors," the Doxcak3 member said.
"For instance, say someone drops some docs on Pastebin, but they don't do the work to get it out there and get it to trend, so it gets buried. You can put it out there, but unless you really draw attention to it, it's going to get buried away."
The document was tweeted out more than 1,200 times, and it made its way through the Web's underground with ease, but it did not appear to reach the radar of any of the major media organizations which set much of the news agenda which Americans have acces to on a daily basis.
But there could still be far-reaching impacts on the horizon for some of the targets of Operation Hiroshima, as people aligned with Anonymous take them to task in whatever way they see fit.
Anonymous says it will continue similar operations, as many of the collective's adherents see shining a light on injustice, inequity and abuse of power as one of its main goals.