As the Rio Olympics captivate the world, Anonymous has been targeting official Brazilian websites associated with the games as an act of protest.
Like many around the globe and in the city of Rio itself, Anonymous is standing against the government’s decision to take on the costly responsibility of hosting the games instead of addressing the nation’s crippling poverty and violence.
— sia az (@siamak_az) August 11, 2016
Anonymous first revealed their plans on August 5, just before the Olympic opening ceremony took place. In a statement to the hacker collective’s Facebook, a representative laid out the group’s mission: “unmask the state actors who are the enemy of the population.”
“The media sells the illusion that the whole city celebrates and commemorate the reception of tourists from all over the world, many of them attracted by the prostitution network and drugs at a bargain price. This false happiness hides the blood shed in the suburbs of the city, mainly in the favelas thanks to countless police raids and military under the pretext of a fake war. Poverty is spreading throughout the city, forcing entire families to leave their homes and traditional neighborhoods on account of high prices of rent and or removals made by a corrupt city hall and serves only the wishes of the civil construction.”
Making good on this threat, Anonymous has already compromised the security of at least five official government websites: 2016 Games (brasil2016.gov.br), Portal of the State Government of Rio de Janeiro (rj.gov.br), Ministry of sports (esporte.gov.br), Brazil Olympic Committee COB (cob.org.br), and official Rio 2016 Olympics site (rio2016.com).
— Anonymous Center (@AnonymousCenter) August 5, 2016
These attacks, however, may prove to be nothing than inconvenient interruptions compared to other information Anonymous claims to have found. Last week, the hackers shared an extensive list of personal data they say belongs to several top organizations in Brazilian sports.
Furthermore, Anonymous is threatening to release material that it says will prove Rio de Janeiro’s mayor Eduardo Paes and several other top officials have been involved in political corruption.
Anonymous’ criticisms of the Rio Olympics echo those made in both domestic and international media. Brazil’s poverty rate hovers somewhere around 20 percent, with millions in the nation living in extreme poverty — defined as a budget under US$1.50 per day. While those numbers have been curbed by welfare programs like Bolsa Familiar, the country still confronts stark income inequality.
— Mandeep Minhas (@MMinhas) August 5, 2016
Those conditions of poverty are seen by many, including Anonymous, as the fuel that feeds the shocking violence and drug use that take place in the country’s slums, or favelas. Brazil recorded approximately 58,000 murders in the year 2014, working out to about 150 murders a day across the massive country, reported The Guardian.
— euronews (@euronews) August 13, 2016
Also among Anonymous’ stated motivations was curbing the child prostitution that often sees a spike when global sporting events, like the Olympics or World Cup, arrive to Brazil. Children, usually addicted to street drugs, often sell themselves or are sold by “sex gangs” when tourists flow in through the Latin American nation’s borders.
Matt Roper, who works for a charity which aims to pull such young girls out of prostitution, told Fox News Latino that he suspects there has been an increase in such illicit activities during the lead-up to the Olympics.
“There is certainly evidence that points to an increase in child sex trafficking because of the Olympics. We know that the activities of sex gangs who recruit poor young girls have intensified in the months running up to the start of the Games in Rio.”
“Favela Morro do Cantagalo,” an image of the slums in Rio de Janeiro pic.twitter.com/kDi8Rdi06g
— MB Channel (@MariaBoedeker) August 6, 2016
Brazil and Anonymous already share a contentious relationship. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the group fomented street protests that railed against similar complaints. In response, the country banned Guy Fawkes and all other masks in public demonstrations.
[Image via Shutterstock]