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Venezuela: Government Opponents’ Twitter Accounts Hacked

For months now, social and mainstream media in Venezuela have reported a wave of expropriations of Twitter accounts belonging to users who openly criticize President Hugo Chávez. Netizens haven noticed how certain Twitter users, well known for their critiques of the government, have all of a sudden started posting messages of wholehearted support for the “Bolivarian Revolution“, or confessed to be followers and admirers of President Chávez.

The Twitter accounts affected include those of artists [es], politicians, journalists, writers, and scholars [es] who openly criticize and oppose the government.

Two months ago, the group N33 published a press release (available here through Taringa [es]) and took responsibility for the expropriations made during that time. They confirm that they are followers of Chávez followers and that they share his ideals, but that neither he nor his government are not to be linked with their activities.

According to the group, the opinions expressed by the people whose accounts were hacked could be seen as abuses of freedom of speech and defamatory speech against the President and the State's institutions. They also claim that they are not linked to Anonymous, a group they consider “pro-imperialist.” Daniela López, comments in La Gente Dice [es]:

"I was hacked for saying what I think! @Leonardo_Padron" via Twitpic

"I was hacked for saying what I think! @Leonardo_Padron" via Twitpic

¿Tendrá que preocuparse Anonymous por este nuevo grupo de hackers? Aparentemente no, porque N33 los considera un grupo “Pro- imperialista” y lo que ellos buscan es hacer justicia por los atropellos cometidos contra el presidente Chávez y su gobierno en Twitter

Will Anonymous have to worry about this new group of hackers? Apparently not, since the group N33 considers them “pro imperialists” and [N33] seeks to make justice for the abuses made against President Chavez and his government on Twitter

The author of the blog Ay Caracha [es] scolds the group:

Al autor del ataque a la cuenta de Berenice, realmente lamento que gaste su inteligencia para destruir un medio que muchos de nosotros utilizábamos para entrar en contacto con los personajes de un programa de radio que tenemos derecho a escuchar.

To the author of the attack against Berenice's account, I regret that he/she wastes his/her intelligence to destroy a media outlet that a lot of us used to communicate with a radio show that we have the right to listen to.

Carlos Bolívar [es], in his post “Unreliable citizen media” says:

Cada [día] sale una nueva mentira, un nuevo hackeo, entonces el día que salga un tubazo por Twitter vía @globovision o @chavezcandanga ¿QUIÉN LO VA A CREER?.

Every day a new lie, a new hacking… The day a scoop appears in @globovision or @chavezcandanga, WHO WILL BELIEVE IT?

On Twitter, Jose Manuel da Silva (@chacazulu451) [es] suggests the possibility that the national company in charge of telecommunications, CANTV, could be linked to the attacks:

Adivina, adivinador!! RT”@NoticiasVenezue: Yo pregunto: el hackeo de las cuentas twitter no viene de dentro de la CANTV? #Venezuela

You'll never guess!! RT”@NoticiasVenezue: I ask: the hacking of Twitter accounts doesn't come from inside CANTV? #Venezuela

Also @CelesteAcosta [es] points at a very ironic happy ending:

Solo en mi Bello Pais! #venezuela bien por Luis!!@laureanomar: Para informar que@luisvicenteleon hackeo al hacker y recuperó su cuenta…

Only in my beautiful country! #Venezuela Good for Luis!!@laureanomar: Just to inform that @luisvicenteleon hacked the hacker and got back his account…

Finally, Luis Carlos Díaz, in his post “The hacker's check” [es], comments and reflects:

En estos meses se realizaron denuncias ante los organismos competentes que se mantienen aún en proceso. El resultado es que los delitos aumentan y el silencio oficial continúa. No ha habido pronunciamientos para deslindarse de estos actos viles contra la libertad de expresión. Quizás porque es similar al retiro de concesiones de radio, la prohibición de circulación temporal de diarios, o aquella insólita resolución que censuraba las noticias y fotografías de sucesos en la prensa nacional. ¿Se recuerda eso?

In these last months complaints were made to competent institutions and they're still in progress. The result is that these crimes are in the rise and the official silence continues. There haven't been any announcements [from the government] distancing themselves from these vile acts against freedom of expression. Maybe because this is similar to the withdrawal of concessions for radio stations, or the temporary banning of newspapers, or even that outrageous resolution that censored news and pictures of crimes in the national press. Do you remember that?

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