The online hactivist collective Anonymous intends to block Webcasts of President Obama's State of the Union address this evening because of what it calls a lack of attention to issues important to the group.
"There will be no State of the Union Address on the Web tonight," the group said today in a blog post announcing the effort, which it has code named #opSOTU.
Specifically, the group says it objects to Obama not addressing the prosecution of Web activist Aaron Swartz, the long detention of alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning, wireless wiretapping, the targeted killings of U.S. citizens by drones, and the National Defense Authorization Act, which it calls "an act of outright tyrannical legislation."
In the post, Anonymous said it planned to cut off the Capitol from the Internet during the president's address:
We reject the State of the Union. We reject the authority of the President to sign arbitrary orders and bring irresponsible and damaging controls to the Internet. The President of the United States of America, and the Joint Session of Congress will face an Army tonight. We will form a virtual blockade between Capitol Hill and the Internet. Armed with nothing more than Lulz, Nyancat and PEW-PEW-PEW! Lazers, we will face down the largest superpower on Earth.The group did not indicate how it intended to keep the Internet devoid of the address, which is expected to broadcast over dozens of Web sites starting at 6 p.m. PT. Owing to the number of individual sites planning to host the speech, a targeted distributed denial-of-service attack seems unlikely as it would divide the group's resources. That would suggest Anonymous might target the network connections connecting the House of Representatives to the Internet.
CNET has contacted the Department of Homeland Security for comment and will update this report when we learn more.
Anonymous has targeted governments before for behavior it found objectionable. The group launched more than 44 million hacking attempts against Israel in just a few days after the country began air strikes in the Gaza Strip in November, though the government claimed that only one of the attempts was successful. Anonymous also targeted several U.K. government Web sites for shutdown last August in an apparent show of solidarity with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.