Security officials have dealt a blow to Anonymous, the online protest collective that has mounted cyber attacks against government websites, by arresting dozens of activists in Turkey and Spain.
Turkish police arrested 32 people yesterday on suspicion of being members of the international "hactivist" movement. Last week, three suspects were detained by Spanish police.
The raids followed an attack by Anonymous that briefly shut down two Turkish government websites last week. The collective, which claims to have no formal structure, was protesting against planned controls on internet access to protect Turkish youths from "harmful elements on the web".
The controls, due to come into force in August, would give internet users the choice of four levels of filtering: "standard", "children", "family" and "domestic".
Anonymous opposes all controls on internet content worldwide. The group has also been accused of organising an attack on Sony that led to the theft of 77 million PlayStation owners' personal details.
Under the banner "Operation Turkey", it forced the websites offline by overloading servers with requests for data, a method known as a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS).
"Over the last few years, we have witnessed the censorship taken by the Turkish government," Anonymous said on its blog.
The collective retaliated against the arrests by launching "Operation Policia", which shut down the Spanish police's website for an hour on Sunday.
"Arresting somebody for taking part in a DDoS attack is exactly like arresting somebody for attending a peaceful demonstration in their home town," it said.
But the latest arrests put Anonymous, which is also the subject of a major FBI investigation, under more pressure. The Americans issued 40 arrest warrants for alleged Anonymous members in February, and six British people are on bail after raids by Scotland Yard. (© Daily Telegraph, London)