The loosely centralized hacktivist group known only as Anonymous was set to release 1,000 names of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members Thursday, organizers said, according to Al Jazeera. Someone posing as a member of Anonymous began releasing names of alleged members from the white supremacist group Monday, including senators, mayors and other people in positions of power, who have since denied those allegations.
“We want the KKK gone, forever. And that’s what we try to achieve by this. We want race equality,” one member told Al Jazeera Wednesday. The group has existed for over a decade, and it became more prominent following the 2014 shooting death of unarmed black man Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. Anonymous released the wrong name of the police officer afterward and was harshly criticized by both media and politicians alike.
The group says it has taken precautions to ensure that the names it releases Thursday are in fact KKK members. Anonymous members said they used cross-point referencing as well as other unnamed methods of verification to guarantee accuracy. Anonymous has denied any affiliation to the hacker or hackers who released the names of alleged KKK members Monday.
“I have seen the list and I’ve seen a lot more," one activist told Al Jazeera, adding "Some of it does not just contain a simple phone number or an email. Some of the lists contain way more — payment information, family, jobs, addresses.”
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Other activist groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit with similar goals of ending hate groups, have been slow to trust the accuracy of information provided by Anonymous. "I think it’s a dangerous game,” Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the Hill Thursday.
“In part because the hacking to begin with is completely illegal," Potok said, adding: "And beyond that, because it is so extremely easy to make mistakes. And we have seen that again and again.”