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Anonymous hacks into SLPD's website over graffiti bill

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 31 2012 8:25 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY  — The activist group Anonymous has struck the Salt Lake Police Department, hacking into its website and forcing a temporary shutdown.

Salt Lake Police Sgt. Shawn Josephson said the only information that appears compromised are names and email addresses of people who signed up for department press releases or daily summaries of notable incidents in the city.

"Our first concern has been making sure that we know exactly the type of information they obtained and we are fixing any loop holes. And then we are seeking prosecution."

The website, www.slpd.com, will be down for an undetermined amount of time as a precaution, Josephson said.

Anonymous said it targeted the police department because officers will be the "foot soldiers" for state Sen. Karen Mayne's anti-graffiti bill should it pass.

"We know there's money to be made in the 'just doing my job' compartmentalized economy. Therefore we know that regardless of the intent of Karen Mayne's haphazard lawmaking, this will end in corporations selling miniature drones to police officers chasing 13-year-olds," their statement reads.

Mayne's SB107 would make possession of graffiti tools such as spray paint a class B misdemeanor if the person intends to deface property. The bill may go to the Senate floor on Wednesday.

In an earlier interview with the media, she said she sponsored the bill after being approached by frustrated police agencies that said their hands were legally tied to do anything to obvious would-be taggers or graffiti vandals.

But Anonymous says Mayne, a West Valley Democrat, has watched the popular movie "Minority Report" too much. In the Tom Cruise film, people are punished before they commit a crime.

"A law prohibiting ownership and use of purchased products based on suspected intent?" Anonymous asks.

Their statement goes on to say that Mayne should perhaps consider the reasons that could be driving graffiti in her neighborhood — social issues such as poverty.

"If all the senator has to offer is a policy that will lead to self-righteous escalation of enforcement, consider this our deterrent," the group said, referring to it successfully hacking into the police website.

Mayne said she had no comment other than to say it is up to the Legislature to determine the fate of her bill.

Anonymous is an activist cyber group that strikes out over causes by hacking websites. In January, it took down a police chiefs association website in Utah over its protest of controversial anti-piracy bills under consideration by Congress.

In protest over the same issue at about the same time, the group also took down prominent websites such as the U.S. Department of Justice.

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16

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