The highly controversial Westboro Baptist Church was recently hacked by the hacktivist collective group known as ‘Anonymous’. All of Westboro's membership information was posted publicly on-line.
Back in February 16, 2011, Anonymous posted a public letter in regards to the Westboro Baptist church and warned them about their actions. They pointed out that they allowed the group to continue at first, but before long Anonymous stated that Westboro had crossed the line and warned them to “Cease and desist your protest campaign”, and that they should return home and take down their website. “We will target your public Websites, and the propaganda & detestable doctrine that you promote will be eradicated,” writes Anonymous. “The damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover. It is in your best interest to comply now…”
The reason for the recent unveiling of the church's membership information by Anonymous was two-fold. Westboro never heeded the warning from Anonymous, and the recent proclamation by the church to picket the funerals of the slain Connecticut children was going too far. Anonymous successfully hacked all of the church’s contact information and posted it on-line. There has not been any word yet if Westboro will change their minds on picketing the Connecticut funerals.
Westboro Baptist is made up mostly of family members of its church founder Fred Phelps, and they are well known for the picketing of funerals. The group has always drawn controversy in regards to the right to free speech in the U.S. In October of 2010 the group’s right to picket funerals made it to the Supreme Court. After a few months the courts on March 2, 2011 actually ruled in the favor of Westboro Baptist, and that as long as it was on a public place, they were within the law of the land.
The hacktivist group that calls itself Anonymous is usually known for using DDoS attacks on websites or the occasional posting of videos on-line about their grievances with certain governments or corporations. Westboro Baptist has been purposely taunting people for many years now, and they have stretched the interpretations of free speech to extremes. Anonymous felt they went too far with this one, and even the harshest critics of Anonymous may be cheering this one on.