Hacktivist group Anonymous has launched its own service for uploading leaked material. The move comes after the head of the more commonly-used PasteBin stepped up to stop users posting stolen or otherwise confidential material.
Pastebin is a generic term for a site used to share text that is too long for other forms of communication such as social network posts and instant messaging. In theory its main use is for sharing sections of computer code.
In practice, Pastebin.com (the best known pastebin service) had found itself a popular site for hackers who wanted to post confidential data such as usernames and passwords. This was despite the site’s terms and conditions banning such posts.
Until this year, the site had simply taken down offending posts as and when they received a report. However, chief Jeroen Vader told the BBC that he had decided to take on staff to proactively check the most popular posts for violations. He also confirmed the site’s policy is to hand over the IP addresses of posters of such material, though only when they received a valid court order.
Anonymous sees both of those points as a form of censorship and has also accused Pastebin of lying, saying it has handed IP addresses over to a private company. Anonymous has responded by teaming up with another group, the Peoples Liberation Front, to form its own service, Anonpaste.
Those behind the service say it will be set up in a way that means that there’ll be no way to get the identities of people who have made a post, and that all data on the physical AnonPaste servers will be encrypted in a way that means the operators couldn’t decrypt it even if a court told them to.
One consequence of the set-up, which is either a strength or a weakness depending on your viewpoint, is that the operators won’t be able to delete posts once they have been made, meaning there’s no possibility of a vetting process.
Vader has already noted that this creates the risk of some users testing that freedom by posting material such as child pornography, which would at the very least create a moral debate among Anonymous supporters.