Hacker group Anonymous publishes the names of alleged Ku Klux Klan members
Anonymous, the international group of hacktivists, has released the identities of hundreds of alleged members and supporters of the extremist racist group, the Ku Klux Klan.
They carried out surveillance for 11 months and gathered 375 names and aliases of individuals who Anonymous claims support the KKK and similar neo-nazi groups.
Ex law-enforcement agents and former candidates who ran for election to political office were among those named.
Their list also reveals the operational network of 23 local and regional groupings of the KKK, located in over 25 American states, mainly in the South, but also in places such as New Jersey, Illnois and New York.
In a statement Anonymous said they had used “human intelligence,” “digital espionage,” "social engineering", and "publicly available information". to conduct their research.
They also revealed that on occasion they posed as fellow supporters of the KKK in order to elicit information from individuals online.
"We understand this initiative is extremely controversial and we know we will face much criticism for this operation and our work will be heavily scrutinised.
"We consider this data dump as a form of resistance against the violence and intimidation tactics leveraged against the public by various members of Ku Klux Klan groups throughout history,"
Anonymous began to monitor the Klan's online communications in November 2014 after members of the group publicly threatened peaceful protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.
The town was the location of the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown, in August 2014.
In a statement, Anonymous insisted the information dump was designed to highlight the behaviour of alleged KKK members and did not constitute an attack on the freedom of thought and expression.
"We want to remind you: This operation is not about the ideas of members of the Ku Klux Klan.
"This is about the behaviours of members of KKK splinter cells that bear the hallmarks of terrorism.
"Day to day, some Klan members work very hard for very little. We will never sympathize with the KKK but we do desire to understand them and learn about how they see their world.
"We do see their humanity, we respect their right to free thought and we know their fear of others is wrong. We also know their behaviors strike fear, anxiety and terror into others. This will no longer be socially tolerated,"Anonymous said.