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Anonymous releases 364,000 files about Russia's censorship of invasion

By Rich Klein
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Anonymous releases 364,000 files about Russia's censorship of invasion
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow a few days before he ordered the invasion of Ukraine in late February. The hacking collective Anonymous says it has hacked the Russia agency that monitors and censors Russia media. Photo by Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin Pool/EPA-EFE

March 11 (UPI) -- Anonymous this week released 364,000 files from Roskomnadzor, the Russian agency that monitors and censors media.

The hack includes documents from as recent as Saturday, Distributed Denial of Secrets, or DDoSecrets, a whistleblower organization that published the files said Thursday.

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Some of the documents reveal that Moscow censored all content that referred to Russia's military action as an invasion.

"Roskomnadzor has given instructions about what can be said and ordered media outlets to delete stories that call Russia's invasion of Ukraine an Invasion," DDoSecrets posted online.

Russia President Vladimir Putin on March 4 signed a new law that criminalizes the spread of information that challenges the government's narrative regarding what it describes only as a "special military operation" instead of an invasion or war.

That led to rapid actions by Russian and foreign newsrooms to protect their reporters, including CNN ceasing its live broadcasts from Russia and the BBC suspending the work of its Russia reporter. On the same day, the law went into effect, Russia blocked its citizens from accessing Facebook. But Russians are increasingly using virtual private networks to bypass the government's shutdown.

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In another online development, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) says that it will temporarily make allowances for some violent speech on its platform, like "death to the Russian invaders" that would normally violate its rules. But it will still prohibit violent speech against Russian civilians.

On Feb. 26, the Anonymous hacker collective said on Twitter that it had successfully taken control of Russian streaming services and TV channels, replacing state-sponsored broadcasts with "the truth about what happens in Ukraine."

The collective also claimed credit for hacking Russia's Internet service providers as well as leaking content from a Belarusian weapons producer.

Anonymous warned in late February that it had declared a cyberwar against Russia for invading Ukraine and targeting civilian populations across the Eastern European nation.

Scenes from the Russian war on Ukraine

European Union leaders attend a summit at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris on March 11, 2022. Photo by the European Union/ UPI | License Photo

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