Anonymous Pulls out Internal Census Data to Protest Controversial Trade Deals

Government (U.S.) // United States

The Census Bureau, part of the Commerce Department, recently bore the brunt of grievances about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Anonymous claims to have leaked sensitive data found inside the U.S. population-tracking bureau’s systems. Census maintains the information is not private.

The stolen information, which has been posted online, includes employee names, email addresses, phone numbers and positions within the federal government. The bundle also includes password hashes – which are difficult, but not impossible, to crack.

The bureau’s mission statement includes the line: "We honor privacy, protect confidentiality, share our expertise globally, and conduct our work openly."

Part of the motivation for the attack is the cloak officials have draped around trade deal negotiations, secrecy which Anonymous has expressed dissatisfaction over before.

Census confirmed that the incident occurred and that it is looking into the matter, but pointed out that the information stolen was "non-confidential".

An emailed statement read: “The US Census Bureau is investigating an IT security incident relating to unauthorized access to non-confidential information on an external system that is not part of the Census Bureau internal network. Access to the external system has been restricted while our IT forensics team investigates.”