Hackers in threat to expose political incomes
TO the horror of Latvia's political establishment, a group of computer hackers is threatening to expose the incomes of top officials after stealing millions of government tax records.
The group, calling itself the People's Army of the Fourth Awakening, claimed to have downloaded more than 7.5 million documents, including VAT receipts and income tax returns, from the State Revenue Service (SRS) after exploiting a security loophole on its website.
One hacker used the name Neo, in apparent tribute to the hero of 'The Matrix' science-fiction films, in which a vast system for enslaving humanity is exposed. He or she claimed that the documents revealed the extent of official hypocrisy over belt-tightening reforms introduced as Latvia's economy reeled under the impact of the global economic crisis. "The purpose of the group is to unmask those who gutted the country," Neo told the Latvian television current affairs programme Kas Notiek Latvija in an interview posted on its website.
Neo has been hailed as a digital Robin Hood by disgruntled Latvians after posting details from the documents on the internet to contrast the earnings of top officials with cuts experienced by other workers.
Latvia's economy shrank by almost a fifth last year and is the weakest in the European Union. The Government slashed state salaries by up to 50 per cent and raised taxes in return for an EU-led bailout that saved the country from bankruptcy. (© The Times, London)